What is Rehabilitation?
Rehabilitation is a process of restoring full function to the musculoskeletal system. Rehabilitation consists of exercises and stretches to restore one’s range of motion (ROM) and Strength. A rehabilitation program must be progressive. After certain injuries, rehabilitation may begin before the injured tissues are completely healed. Because an injury results in weakness of the muscles and joints surrounding an injury, the first exercises performed following an injury must be very simple and safe.
Safety is the most important thing to keep in mind when doing rehabilitation of any area of the body following injury. The last thing an injured athlete wants to do is reinjure themselves while trying to return to full function. For this reason, many doctors will recommend that you see a physical therapist or athletic trainer to guide you through your rehabilitation.
There are specific exercises designed to help you in rehabilitation of any area of the body following injury. These exercises are generally arranged by area of the body and are organized in a progression from easy at the start of the rehabilitation program to progressively more difficult as the rehabilitation program builds to full athletic participation.
What types of rehabilitation exercises are there?
There are two types of exercises for each area of the body: ROM exercises, which are designed to improve joint mobility or flexibility, and strengthening exercises, which are designed to improve strength and control of motion.
How should rehabilitation exercises be performed?
Because some of the strengthening exercises require good range of motion in the joint, we recommend that you begin with the exercises to restore ROM. A complete exercise program should be requested and laid out by your doctor/athletic trainer and or physical therapist. Focus on the specific exercises prescribed for the exact area of the body that has been injured, and begin with the first exercise related to Range of motion. After you have completed the first ROM exercise without pain, progress to the next exercise, If you have difficulty performing an exercise correctly, do not progress to the next. Once you have completed all the exercises under Range of Motion, progress to those designed for Strength. Again, please get clearance from your doctor before performing rehabilitation exercises.