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The decision to have surgery is not easy, nor is it the guaranteed solution. Research is showing more and more that conservative physiotherapy and therapeutic exercise can be equally, if not more effective, than expensive and often risky surgery.

Surgical Screening

It is critically important to determine if surgery will actually improve a person’s ability to function. Suitably qualified physiotherapists are experts in thorough  functional assessment, test if the radiology actually “matches” the complaint (called false positive / false negative)  and give a more complete picture of the problem. While pain is one component, the inability to move well is often the more important factor. Addressing the abnormal “movement” component with specific exercise-based treatment often has a positive impact on reducing the “pain” part too – without surgery!

Research Findings


  • Sciatica does not improve any better when managed with Lumbar disc surgery compared with non-surgical, conservative therapy. (Wilco et al 2007).
  • Lumbar discectomies have up to 65% recurrence rate after surgery (Suri 2017)

TKA (total knee replacement)

  • Strong research evidence suggests that 34% of TKAs in the USA are unnecessary, 21% highly questionable and only 44% actually required. Doctors require better patient selection tools. (Riddle et al 2014).
  • Australia is following this same trend.

ACL (anterior cruciate ligament)

  • According to a study recently published in the Medical Journal of Australia, the number has risen more than 70% in the last 15 years, with the greatest increase among children under 14.
  • While the figures rise costing the health care system billions of dollars, as well as causing patients much pain, time lost and out of pocket expenses, large studies show there is no real difference at 5yrs between surgery, delayed surgery or NO surgery. (Frobell 2013)


  • Physiotherapy is just as effective as surgery when it comes to improving knee function and pain from a torn meniscus.
  • It was recommended that a person with knee arthritis or a torn meniscus undergo three months of Physiotherapy before even considering surgery (Katz et al 2013).
  • There is no difference between knee arthroscopy and “fake” arthroscopy (Moseley 2002)

Surgical interventions are most effective if all conservative managements have been exhausted. It is vitally important to fully explore all your options

DMA Clinical Pilates


Mon–Fri: 8am - 7pm

Sat: 9am - 1pm

Sun: Closed

731 Whitehorse Road,
Mont Albert VIC,


CLINIC +61 3 9000 4125, EMAIL

COURSES  +61 493 853 266, EMAIL

EQUIPMENT +61 457 777 858, EMAIL