Physical Rehabilitation Therapy Specialist Q&A
At Total Health Elevated, our professionals are experienced in physical rehabilitation therapy. They will help relieve your pain. Call us today or visit us online to book an appointment. We are conveniently located at 17022 Devonshire St. Northridge CA 91325.
Table of Contents:
What is physical rehabilitation?
Why do I need physical rehabilitation therapy and how can it help me?
How long will I need rehabilitation?
What will my treatment plan likely include?
What are the different types of physical rehabilitation?
What is the process of rehabilitation?
What is the difference between physical therapy and rehabilitation?
How do you know if you have been fully rehabilitated?
Physical rehabilitation is a form of physical therapy that aims to restore function, form and strength to damaged or injured areas of the body. It is often prescribed after sustaining a traumatic injury that impedes upon one’s mobility and range of motion. Physical rehabilitation allows patients to relearn basic functions so that they can live an independent life.
Physical rehabilitation is a branch of rehabilitative health that uses different techniques to help decrease pain and stiffness, improve strength and motion, and enhance mobility. Physical rehabilitation can help people of all ages who have an injury, illness or medical condition that affects their normal movement, function and range of motion. Common signs that indicate a visit to a physical rehabilitation therapist may be needed include loss of balance, chronic pain and pain while sitting, standing or walking. Other signs that may require treatment include urinary incontinence and uncoordinated movement. Before undergoing physical rehabilitation therapy, patients should be aware of how long the course of treatment is likely to take. A physical rehabilitation therapist educates patients on best lifestyle practices and instils the importance of stretching and exercise. Physical rehabilitation can successfully restore form, function and range of motion, allowing patients to restrengthen their bodies and relearn basic functions.
Physical rehabilitation is used to help the body restore lost function and form, allowing patients to relearn how to perform everyday activities, such as walking, running, standing and balance. You may need physical rehabilitation if you have sustained an injury that limits your mobility or range of motion. Physical therapy can provide the following benefits:
– Recovery from injury or trauma
– Recovery from stroke or paralysis
– Improved mobility and movement
– Pain management with reduced need for opioids
– Avoiding surgery
– Fall prevention
– Improved balance
– Management of age-related medical problems
The length of time required for physical rehabilitation to be effective depends on the area that is injured, the severity of the disability and how the patient responds to treatment. Everyone is unique and heals at a different rate, so it is difficult to know how long physical rehabilitation will take. For minor injuries and physical limitations, the condition may markedly improve after only a few weeks or a month. To recover from a severely limiting injury, disease or condition, it may take several months or even over a year to fully heal. For a more accurate estimate on how long your physical rehabilitation will take, speak with your physical therapist.
Physical rehabilitation treatment plans will likely include:
– Active or assistive range of motion exercises
– Strengthening exercises
– Flexibility exercises
– Balance and coordination exercises
– Posture training and correction
– Gait training and correction
– Activities of daily living exercise
– Pain management, using heat, cryotherapy, or electric stimulation
While there are many specific categories of physical rehabilitation, there are generally seven major groups: sport, pediatric, geriatric, orthopedic, cardiovascular, pulmonary, vestibular, and neurological. Sport physical rehabilitation is one of the most common forms of physical therapy, as it is widely used for athletes in wellness and sickness.
Injuries are common in athletes, and sports physical rehabilitation is designed to address these particular injuries while preventing future ones as well. Athletes in sports rehabilitation are more likely to understand the body’s mechanics and how to use proper form in their movement to avoid damage.
On the other hand, pediatrics studies medicine pertaining to children and teenagers. There are many reasons pediatric physical rehabilitation may be sought; patients may be experiencing musculoskeletal disorders, birth defects, injuries, neurological conditions, and more. Opposingly, geriatrics focuses on older persons, usually over sixty-five. In this type of physical rehab, the main goal is to prevent deconditioning and make the health decline associated with aging manageable.
Further, geriatric physical therapists (Pts) work to encourage independence in their patients and decrease the risk of falls. Geriatric PTs are likely to have additional education in dementia and arthritis. Orthopedics focuses on the muscular and skeletal (bones) systems and can cover many health concerns, like carpal tunnel syndrome, bone fractures, and chronic pain.
Physical rehabilitation used for patients with cardiovascular (heart) or pulmonary (lung) conditions is rare, though it is especially beneficial for those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or heart failure. This kind of rehab focuses on improving symptoms, like shortness of breath, by strengthening the cardiovascular system and training the body to use oxygen more efficiently.
Vestibular therapy is used for patients with balancing issues, as the “vestibules” of the inner ear dictate the body’s ability to sense and control balance. Usually, patients in vestibular physical rehabilitation are experiencing moderate to severe vertigo, a condition causing extreme dizziness.
Finally, in neurological physical therapy, you will see patients with various neurological conditions that affect mobility and muscular functioning. This may be used to reduce spasticity seen in Parkinson’s, maintain declining function as seen in multiple sclerosis (MS) or Huntington’s disease (HD), or recover from an injury to the brain or spinal cord.
Though the process of physical rehabilitation may differ between types, a general combination of assessments, exercises, and therapeutic treatments is ultimately used to restore functioning. Exercises may be active or passive. With active exercise, patients control muscular contraction to perform movements, whereas passive activity is performed by a physical therapist who will move your body and joints.
PT’s may do this when patients cannot actively move, whether due to pain, numbness, or inadequate strength. Passive movements must be performed to maintain healthy joint functioning and prevent atrophy, also known as muscle wasting. These exercises could further target various goals, like improving balance, range of motion, or strength. Additionally, physical rehabilitation will work to prevent invasive treatments, like surgery, or reinjury.
Your PT will also provide treatments like hot and cold therapy or transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), which is used to reduce pain. Pediatric physical rehabilitation utilizes play to engage younger patients and make their experience more fun and appealing. Geriatric may also include hydrotherapy, in which exercises are performed in a pool.
Hydrotherapy has many benefits, as it prevents falls and makes movements easier on aged joints. In orthopedic or sports rehabilitation, cryotherapy is another widely used technique. Extreme cold temperatures encourage and speed up healing, improve circulation, and reduce pain and inflammation.
Rehabilitation is a broad term used to describe any treatment that aims to restore proper function. This may include speech therapy, addiction recovery, prosthetic practice, etc. Therefore, physical therapy can be a type of rehabilitation and focuses on gross motor movements needed for daily living, like walking or feeding oneself.
In physical rehabilitation, you and your physical therapist will collaborate to set obtainable goals within a specific time frame, usually six to eight weeks. At every visit, your therapist will be continuously evaluating your performance, and they will ask how you feel you are progressing.
A reassessment will determine if your goals have been achieved or if you need more time or different treatment by the end of your therapeutic program. Should you feel you have reached your goals and do not see any added benefits of continuing regular sessions, you will be considered “rehabilitated.” However, the program must not be halted too early, as this can increase your chances of reinjury. Further, patients in physical rehabilitation are given “homework” exercises to be completed at home to aid recovery. However, many patients do not know if they should continue or stop these at-home exercises after their program has ended. Ultimately it is up to you, as some patients prefer to continue and see added benefits after rehabilitation, while others do not.
Here at Total Health Elevated, our exceptional team of physical therapists and rehabilitation physicians (physiatrists) are dedicated to helping you achieve your health goals and improve your quality of life. If you would like to meet with a medical professional, please do not hesitate to call us or book an appointment online. We serve patients from Northridge CA, Grenada Hills CA, Mission Hills CA, Chatsworth CA, Santa Clarita CA, San Fernando CA, Burbank CA, and Porter Ranch CA. We look forward to meeting with you.