The 4 Stages of Rehabilitation: A Comprehensive Guide

Learn about four distinct stages in physical rehabilitation: Recovery Stage; Early Abstinence; Maintaining Abstinence; Maintenance Abstinence.

The 4 Stages of Rehabilitation: A Comprehensive Guide

The recovery stage is the first step in physical rehabilitation. After the healing process has begun, the next step is to start regaining movement and mobility. Most people are surprised to discover how their injury and the ensuing recovery period can lead to muscle weakness and loss of endurance. Objective measures of muscle weakness and atrophy are commonly seen after injury and surgery within 4-6 weeks.

Minimizing muscle loss and strength deficits are important rehabilitation goals set out in your physical therapy program. When you ask for help from a professional alcohol and drug rehabilitation program, you begin the first stage of your recovery, the beginning of treatment. Challenges at this stage of treatment include cravings, social pressure to drink, and high-risk situations that can trigger alcohol consumption. It is during this early stage of abstinence that your trained addiction counselor will begin teaching you the coping skills you need to lead a sober lifestyle. The tools you learn to use now will help you throughout your recovery. Early withdrawal problems that are being worked on at this point in treatment include learning about the physical and psychological aspects of withdrawal, learning to identify triggers of alcohol use, and learning to manage cravings for alcohol without drinking.

After approximately 90 days of continuous abstinence, you will move from the early withdrawal stage of recovery to the third stage, maintaining abstinence. If you started in a residential treatment program, you will now move to the ongoing counseling or follow-up phase of your rehabilitation program on an outpatient basis. In addition, during this stage of your rehabilitation, you will learn to use the tools you learned in early abstinence in other areas of your life, so that you can continue to live a truly sober lifestyle. You'll find that your future quality of life depends on more than just not using. The maintenance abstinence phase of rehabilitation will begin approximately three months into your rehabilitation program and will last until you reach approximately five years clean and sober, at which time follow-up counseling will usually end. Rehabilitation is defined as “a set of interventions designed to develop functioning and reduce disability in people with health conditions in interaction with their environment”.

The most important thing to keep in mind about the rehabilitation process is that it depends on the type of effort you are undergoing. For example, if you are going through mental strain, your rehabilitation process will be different. But if you are going through physical exertion, then there are 4 phases of the rehabilitation process. Proper protection and discharge are vital for a number of reasons. First, it protects the affected area from further damage.

Take the example of a fracture, muscle tear, or ligament injury, all of which will require some level of protection to protect them in the early stages. Second, protection not only prevents the injury from worsening, but also promotes an internal environment to support healing. It is worth noting that during the first few days after injury, inflammation progressively increases, associated with the breakdown and removal of damaged tissue and debris from the injury site. The first stage of recovery is to prevent further damage and allow the body to begin the healing process. Inflammation and pain are the body's first response to injury.

The better we have started the healing process, the better we can control inflammation, control pain and protect the damaged part of the body to prevent further damage. The period between six weeks and three months after the injury is commonly referred to as the remodeling phase. Regardless of the overall duration, through rehabilitation of the injury, effective management is usually carried out in a phased approach. Careful soft tissue and joint mobilization training as prescribed by the physical therapist is an important part of rehabilitation to regain range of motion in the early stages. When you decide to enter a professional alcohol and drug treatment program, you will begin a journey through four distinct stages of rehabilitation recovery as you learn to develop a healthy and sober lifestyle. These stages were developed by the National Institute on Drug Abuse as a resource on individual drug counseling for healthcare providers, but it is also a useful model for recovery from alcohol addiction. During this stage of treatment, a person's history of alcohol and drug use will be taken, the treatment program will be introduced, and the counselor will work with the person to develop an individualized treatment plan.

To regain early-stage range of motion, careful preparation for soft tissue and joint mobilization as recommended by your physical therapist is a vital part of your rehabilitation. Once you have committed to continuing treatment for your substance abuse problem, you will enter the second stage of rehabilitation known as early abstinence. Effective rehabilitation should always be a phased process aimed at promoting recovery, accelerating return to sport or activity level prior to injury or illness, optimizing performance levels post-injury or illness and preventing new injuries.