Physical Therapy Won’t “Fix” You

That’s right, you read the title correctly. Physical therapy will NOT fix you.


Because you aren’t broken! Your body isn’t broken. Despite what you may have been told by other doctors, images, scans, or friends.

You might have an injury, but you are not broken. The great news is that injuries heal! Your body is strong and resilient, and great at healing. Just because you have been told that you have an injury does not mean that your body is broken, and just because you have been told that you “have the worst (insert body part here) that I have ever seen” does not mean that you are broken.

We hear things like this all of the time! And I wish that wasn’t the case, because it just isn’t true. We hear things like:

  • “I was told I have a herniated disk so I shouldn’t lift heavier than 10 pounds… it will probably always be there.”
  • “I was told that I have thin hip cartilage, and that they were surprised that I wasn’t in pain. I am afraid of doing more damage so I stopped running as much”
  • “I know that my hips are misaligned and it makes one leg longer than the other, and makes my spine curve… my body is broken”
  • “My posture is terrible, and I try working on it but don’t really see results. I’m not in pain, but I know that it’s terrible for my body”

The truth is that all of these statements are false! Herniated disks heal, they will NOT always be there.

Running is actually good for your joints! Our bodies are great at adapting to the stress that we put on them. Running applies good stress to your joints and bones, making them stronger and more resilient.

Our bodies aren’t meant to be perfectly aligned!

There are “normal” variations in leg length, and not being aligned does not make your body broken. There are Olympians with scoliosis who would be called “misaligned” who have no pain, and people who are “aligned” who do have pain.

Research also shows that there is no correlation between posture and pain. There is no one “perfect” posture. We are meant to be mobile, and the best posture is moving regularly!

Physical therapy also will not fix you because I am not a mechanic. I am a coach who is here to guide you and encourage you as you heal yourself.

We recently had a patient come to us who was hurting after trail running and CrossFit. She would take time off, and things would feel good, so she would return to her sport and end up hurt again. This was a repetitive cycle for one year until she came to us. After we did a Total Body Diagnostic, I told her the root cause of her pain was that her hip was not stable, and her shoulder needed some more mobility. We came up with a plan to help her meet her goals, and when I asked if she was ready to get started she enthusiastically said, “Yes! I just want you to fix me ASAP!”

I had to explain to her that this is a common misconception. Your body is not like a broken car that you drop off at the mechanic (aka physical therapy) a couple times a week until it starts “running like normal” again.

The only similarities between a PT and a mechanic is that we do an assessment and diagnose the problem. However, after a mechanic diagnoses, he fixes the problem. Once a PT gives you a diagnosis, we develop a plan together to help you fix your problem.

We educate you on the cause of your problem, and how other lifestyle factors can affect your symptoms and pain, but we do not fix you.

We might prescribe you mobility drills, stretches, or exercises, and hold you accountable to do them as prescribed; but we do not fix you.

I tell new patients that I am more like a coach than a mechanic. I am here to guide you, educate you, and hold you accountable as you progress on your wellness journey. I empower you to take charge of your health and your healing as you create positive change.

I can’t reach your goals for you, but I can motivate you to take action to achieve them.

Click here to hop on a call to talk about your health goals!

About The Author

Dr. Kaitlin Herzog

Dr. Herzog attended the University of Pittsburgh, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science. She went on to earn her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree at Wheeling Jesuit University. Kaitlin has been an athlete for most of her life and was introduced to physical therapy when she had several sports-related injuries. She decided to become a physical therapist to help others maintain an active lifestyle while staying pain free. Kaitlin uses a hands-on approach to help people of all backgrounds optimize their movement and performance. Dr. Herzog is a record-holding competitive powerlifter, and you can find her training or competing in her spare time. She also enjoys Olympic weightlifting, CrossFit, yoga, sports, hiking, baking, crafts, traveling, and exploring Greensboro with friends.​

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