Functional rehabilitation is a restoration program that is designed to provide comprehensive treatment of an injury or dysfunction of the body. In contrast to traditional physical therapy, functional rehabilitation treats with the goal of returning the individual to full participation of prior level of activity. This requires restoration of form as well as function. The program is designed to progress the individual from simple activities, such as walking or jogging, to more complex-specific activities that require refined levels of proprioceptive acuity.
In addition to strength and flexibility, a functional rehabilitation program also incorporates agility and proprioceptive/kinesthetic training. While this model has primarily been applied to sports medicine and athletes, it is also appropriate for “industrial athletes”, employees who use their musculoskeletal system to perform their jobs, in order to return the injured worker as quickly as possible without risk of reinjury.
Condition: Functional rehabilitation combines various techniques in an attempt to return an injured athlete or worker to an optimal level of performance.
Background: The program includes strength, flexibility, and agility training as well as training focused on coordination of body parts and motion to prepare the individual to return to full participation.
History and Symptoms: History of the injury, including previous injuries, treatments, and recovery, is useful as the initial step. Understanding the patient’s goals and plans to return to sports or activities is helpful. Knowledge of current level of function, presence of a support system, use of medications or supplements, and what positions or movements reduce or increase pain is also important.
Physical Exam: A physical examination will be performed by the chiropractor to assess reflexes, posture, balance, walking, muscle control, body stabilization during rest and movement, range of motion of joints, and any deficiencies or problems that may have contributed to the original injury.
Diagnostic Process: Functional rehabilitation requires functional diagnostics, such as the chiropractor reviewing the individuals techniques, movement capabilities, and secondary adaptation changes to other joints or muscles; however, imaging, such as X-ray, CT, or MRI, may be used to clarify the particular problem or injury. Ultrasound imaging can also be used to assess the movement of joints and muscles.
Rehab Management: The overall goal is to train the patient using three-dimensional movements to prepare the whole body to return to daily activities or sports. This differs from therapies used to address the patient’s symptoms using such modalities as heat, ice, and medication while mainly strengthening the isolated injured muscle. The athlete should begin rehabilitation as soon as the injury allows, and rehabilitation, which should be injury-specific, may follow a multi-phase program that involves progressive steps from controlling inflammation and pain to restoration of motion to development of muscle strength, power, and endurance to return to lifestyle-specific activity.
Mr. Syed was diagnosed with a cervical Slipped Disc. His symptoms included weakness accompanied by numbness and tingling in the right hand. After a series of adjustments and decompression therapy, we're glad to say he's pain-free. However, given the existing neck damage sustained, we're now focusing on rehabilitation to create balance in his neck muscles and to decrease as much joint and disc stress as possible as a means of prevention.
Functional rehabilitation therapy offers many benefits for anybody recovering from surgery or an injury, including:
By engaging your muscles with repetitive, functional exercises, functional rehabilitation helps improve muscle memory.
A functional rehabilitation program can help build cardiovascular stamina while improving endurance during high-intensity activities, like weightlifting or running.
A crucial part of any functional rehabilitation program is improving posture and balance. This helps engage your core and keep your spine in proper alignment. Balance and posture also help improve your form when exercising or playing sports.
Joint pain is often caused by chronic overuse, which can degrade your joints over time. Functional rehabilitation aims to strengthen your joints and prevent overuse to alleviate pain and restore joint mobility.
Functional rehabilitation doesn’t just strengthen your muscles, it also retrains them to become more flexible. This can significantly help reduce your chances of reinjury while alleviating pain and discomfort.
Stages of Rehabilitation
Phase 1 - Control Pain and Swelling.
Phase 2 - Improve Range of Motion and/or Flexibility.
Phase 3 - Improve Strength & Begin Proprioception/Balance Training.
Phase 4 - Proprioception/Balance Training & lifestyle-Specific exercises.
Phase 5 - Gradual Return to Full Activity.
Muscular Rehabilitation is unique to all individuals as everyone has different activities of daily living with differences in short and long term goals as well. We see golfers who come in with back pain and focus on generating more trunk mobility and rotational strength. On the other end we also more elder individuals with chronic lower back pain leading to weakness of the legs, with these cases we focus on Lower limb musculature firing which promotes strength and better functional walking patterns. Come see one of our friendly Chiropractors and see what we can do to help you!
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