You may have heard of the term “rehabilitation” but aren’t quite sure whether or not it’s suitable for you or your loved one.
After a hospital admission, a doctor may have recommended some rehab. After your fall, someone might have said that you should have some rehab at home. So, what conditions is rehab actually helpful for?
There are many different types of physiotherapy rehabilitation that are designed to address different health conditions. It is important your rehabilitation involves a team of health care professionals working together to meet your goals.
Depending on your condition this may include your doctor, nurse, dietitian, occupational therapist, psychologist and pharmacist.
Read on to find out about the types of rehabilitation and the conditions that physiotherapy can help with.
1. Orthopedic rehabilitation
This form of rehabilitation involves getting you back to full function following a fracture or any type of bone or joint surgery.
Rehab will involve progressive exercise programs to help improve your strength, improve flexibility, regain normal movement, improve your balance and control, and retrain those specific activities you are unable to perform following your injury and surgery. Your physiotherapist can also help to manage any pain you may experience.
Orthopedic conditions that can benefit from rehab include:
- Fractures – hip, wrist, spine, shoulder etc.
- Pre/post joint replacements or reconstructions – hip, knee, shoulders etc.
- Limb amputations
2. Musculoskeletal rehabilitation
Designed for people with impairments or disabilities due to disease, disorders or injuries to the muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones, this form of rehabilitation aims to return you to the highest level of functional independence as possible and improve your quality of life.
Physiotherapy may include structured exercise programs to improve strength and mobility, gait retraining, pain management techniques, ergonomic assessments and education regarding your injury and management.
Musculoskeletal conditions that may benefit from rehab include:
- Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis
- Neck pain – chronic headaches, whiplash
- Lower back pain – chronic and acute
- Joint pain – hips, ankles, knees
- Muscular strains, aches and imbalances
- Sporting injuries – i.e. swimming, golf, bowls, walking, running injuries
- Repetitive stress injuries – i.e. carpal tunnel, tennis elbow
3. Neurological rehabilitation
Involves the rehabilitation of people with movement and functional disorders originating from the body’s nervous and neuromuscular system. Many of these conditions demonstrate muscle weakness, spasms, contractures or tremors; loss of function or reduced sensation; poor balance and coordination.
Following an in-depth assessment, rehab may include a tailored exercise program, hands-on treatment to assist joint and muscle mobilisation, gait and balance re-training, cardiorespiratory techniques and gait aid prescription.
Conditions neurological rehab can benefit include:
- Stroke or transient ischemic attack
- Traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries
- Brain / spinal cord tumors
- Brain injuries due to alcohol / drug use
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Parkinson’s disease
- Huntington’s disease
- Alzheimer’s disease / other types of dementia
- Neuropathy / myopathy
- Infections impacting the brain / nervous system
4. Cardiac rehabilitation
Aims to improve the cardiovascular function and reduce the risk of mortality in those living with cardiovascular diseases.
Rehab may include meaningful goal setting to facilitate long term management; exercise therapy focusing on improving muscle strength, flexibility and aerobic capacity, re-training activities of daily living and educational sessions about living with and managing your condition.
Conditions cardiac rehab can benefit include:
- Coronary heart disease
- Heart attack or angina
- Stent procedure or heart surgery
- Heart failure or cardiomyopathy
- Following heart transplant
- Following a device insertion – pacemaker or defibrillator
- Following cardiac arrest
- Atrial fibrillation
- Pulmonary hypertension
5. Pulmonary rehabilitation
Aims to improve the respiratory function and reduce the risk of mortality in those living with chronic respiratory diseases.
Typically, rehab of this kind will aim to improve exercise tolerance and quality of life through structured exercise programs, educating clients on their conditions and how to best manage exacerbations and hands-on chest physiotherapy techniques to improve lung capacity and function.
Conditions pulmonary rehab can benefit include:
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- Interstitial lung diseases – idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, asbestosis, pneumonia etc.
6. Oncology rehabilitation
Designed specifically for those with any type of cancer, in all phases of treatment. Physiotherapy rehabilitation aims to address the body holistically – addressing symptoms that may impact range of movement, fibrosis, lymphoedema, deconditioning, vestibular issues, pain and neuropathy.
7. General rehabilitation
Not specific to one particular body area, but this type of rehab works on restoring the whole body to an improved level of function.
Examples of conditions that could benefit from general rehab include:
- Deconditioning – aging, frailty or deterioration following a hospital stay
- Falls prevention
- Deterioration in mobility related to aging or other conditions
If you are an older adult or have an elderly loved one, and are looking for rehab for any of the above-mentioned conditions or would like more information about rehab with a physio, reach out to The Physio Co today, our team would love to help.
Article written by Madeline Low (TPC physiotherapist)