Physical therapy to recover after a surgery = very much real
Physical therapy to before actual treatment = stupid bullshit stall tactics
My wife and I both just finished regiments with physical therapists - her for a sciatica and me for osteoarthritis of the knees. In neither case did we desire to to PT, but both doctors insisted we do it before moving onto next steps ("We require everyone go to PT for this prior to considering our next move.") After paying bunch of out-of-pocket money to learn a bunch of stretches, bungee cord pulls, very light weight muscle isolation machines and rolling around over two taped together tennis balls (i.e. a "peanut"), neither of us has any improvement. We never expected any.
This is probably my third time going to PT and I've found to be a complete waste of time and money. It seems like an insurance billing / personal billing vehicle with a one-size-fits-all approach. I know there are specific injuries and surgeries people have that utilize PT for recovery of use. But those seem few and far between. Instead I see "sports medicine" clinics opening on every corner, half my friends kids seem to be studying PT or sports medicine in college, etc. I'm kind of wondering if worthless higher education has taught its model to the "rehab" industry.
Maybe I'm bitter about my personal experience, but I grade PT a large pile of stinking horse dung. Opinions?