The 4 Stages of Physical Rehabilitation: What You Need to Know

One of the most important components of a successful rehabilitation plan is that it must be tailored to the individual. Learn about the four stages of physical rehabilitation: minimizing additional damage; restoring range of motion; regaining strength; sport-specif

The 4 Stages of Physical Rehabilitation: What You Need to Know

One of the most important components of a successful rehabilitation plan is that it must be tailored to the individual. Every person we see is unique, and so is their rehabilitation plan. In our previous article, we discussed the importance of prevention, but what happens when you're already dealing with an injury or condition? What are the different components of rehabilitation?Flexibility is one of the most important components of a rehabilitation plan. Flexibility can be defined as the range of motion (ROM) in which a person can move a joint or series of joints.

It also refers to the mobility of the muscles, which allows for more or less movement around the joint. Flexibility is affected by several factors, such as age, gender, and joint structure. Unfortunately, these factors are out of our control. However, there are other factors that influence flexibility that we can control, such as muscle mass, internal environment, and previous injuries.

People who tend to be more “bulky” generally have reduced ROM, and injured muscles and connective tissues can thicken, reducing elasticity and flexibility. Fortunately, flexibility can be improved through stretching exercises. Flexibility is an important part of rehabilitation and general conditioning, yet it is often overlooked. There are many benefits to maintaining good flexibility, including reducing the risk of injury, reducing pain levels, improving posture and balance, greater strength, better physical performance, and a better mood. Strength training is another important component of rehabilitation. This type of exercise involves using resistance to induce muscle contraction.

This increases strength, anaerobic endurance (a short duration of activity without oxygen), skeletal muscle size, and bone density. Coordination is also an important part of rehabilitation. Coordination can be defined as the ability to execute smooth, precise and controlled movements by using the right muscles at the right time with the right intensity to achieve the desired action. Coordination is considered good when the movement is done with the right speed, distance, direction, time, and muscle tension. The first stage of recovery is to minimize additional damage and let the body begin the healing process. The body's first reaction to injury is inflammation and pain.

It's important to regulate inflammation and control pain in order to protect the injured body part from further damage. Once your range of motion has been restored as best as possible, it's time to begin regaining strength. Resting during the recovery phase can cause muscle atrophy or wasting that leads to weakness and loss of endurance. The goal in this stage is to minimize these losses and return to pre-injury muscle strength and endurance levels. Weight machines are excellent tools for rehabilitation because they allow strength training to be performed safely and accurately while reducing the risk of aggravating injuries or risking further injury. The importance of peers and peer support should be considered in rehabilitation planning and related recommendations. Rehabilitation can be provided in many different settings, from inpatient or outpatient hospital settings to private clinics or community settings such as a person's home. Sport-specific functional rehabilitation should focus on restoring an injured athlete's ability to have sport-specific physiology and biomechanics that interact optimally with sport-specific demands. Physical therapists are experts in rehabilitation who can provide a proper diagnosis and complete treatment plan.

Unfortunately, rehabilitation services have been severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. At Axes Physical Therapy we understand how important it is for people to fully recover after an injury or condition. That's why we strive to provide comprehensive rehabilitation services tailored to each individual's needs. While specific exercises and methods will depend on the type and severity of the injury or condition, rehabilitation can generally be divided into four basic stages:

  • Minimizing additional damage
  • Restoring range of motion
  • Regaining strength
  • Sport-specific functional rehabilitation
If you have suffered an injury or experience physical limitations due to aging or underlying health conditions, physical rehabilitation may be necessary to restore optimal body shape and function. Adhering to a proper rehabilitation framework and program is essential for full recovery. Rehabilitation isn't just for those with acute or chronic conditions or disabilities; it should be available to anyone in need.

Providing patients with a program that keeps uninvolved areas in optimal condition will help them physically and psychologically when their injured area has been fully rehabilitated. Rehabilitation is an important part of universal health coverage and achieving Sustainable Development Goal 3: “Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages”.