Physical Therapy vs Muscle Activation Therapy Following Arthroscopic Shoulder Surgery?

Question by RyanFitzpatrick: Physical Therapy vs Muscle Activation Therapy following arthroscopic shoulder surgery?
Please share insights if you are well informed in both PT and MAT.

Best answer:

Answer by mistify
Well, it might be hard to get a really straight, unbiased answer or an answer from someone who is knowledgeable on both PT and MAT. The first thing to address, however, might be to ask what “type” of arthroscopic shoulder surgery? Arthroscopic repair will have much different implications than someone who was a simple debridement. For someone who has had their rotator cuff repair, they are going to be bound by certain post operative precautions that have to be followed by who ever is treating them which, in most cases, will be required, at least initially, to follow a “standard” physical therapy protocol.

Going back to the practice of PT and MAT and trying to compare both, what makes it difficult are the following aspects:
1. MAT is typically performed by chiropractors, and PT by PT’s. Sure, sometimes PTs become chiros and chiros sometimes become PTs, but its not common. Furthermore, even amongst MAT practitioners, this represents only a small number of chiros. Many chiros can claim they do “physical therapy” and are “rehab certified,” but in all honesty, its usually an extremely watered down version of physical therapy. Furthermore, chiro education on post-operative rehabilitation is very, very limited. So, its extremely hard to find someone who is really knowledgeable on both subject matters.
2. MAT is an “alternative” therapy that has yet to stand the rigors of the scientific method. So, it makes it really hard to draw conclusions and compare it to physical therapy.
3. Physical therapy can take many different approaches…all may have some scientific basis (or none at all), so to compare something specific, like MAT to a broader practice is difficult.
4. Remember that the end goal of both PT and MAT are essentially the same: reduce pain, increase flexibility where needed, stabilize where needed and improve strength in order to improve function.

So, please take those things into consideration when making your decision.

Here’s my take on the matter, however (as unbiased as I can be). If you are going to have surgery, see someone who regularly sees post surgical patients…not someone who does it “every once in awhile”…especially if you are going to have something quite elaborate such as a rotator cuff repair, capsular shift, labral repair, etc. Nine times out of ten, the person who sees this is a PT. Next, bring it up to your surgeon…chances are, he/she will tell you physical therapy…but then again, most surgeons probably aren’t even familiar with MAT (which that would make my decision for me right there). Although both seek to deliver the same results, there really isn’t any hard scientific data behind MAT. I think the theories behind it have some validity, and chances are, there’s a few underlying concepts that overlap with traditional PT, but at this point, MAT is just that: some techniques based on theory..not scientific evidence. So, in the end, I’d really have to encourage you to go to PT…unless you are 5 or 6 months out of surgery and whatever has been repaired in now healed but just needs to get a little stronger…only in this case would I encourage someone to seek out MAT if they were REALLY interested in it. However, if you happen to find a PT who has done the MAT coursework (and I’m sure there are a few), I would venture to say that this would be the expert to ask…most likely, they would use a mix of traditional PT and throw in a little MAT if it were indicated.

Know better? Leave your own answer in the comments!



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