Rehabilitation is an important part of recovery for those who have suffered an injury, undergone surgery, or have physical limitations due to aging or underlying health problems. A comprehensive rehabilitation plan should include a variety of components to ensure the best possible outcome. The most commonly described components of a rehabilitation plan include peers, counseling, physical exercise, assistive technology and home adaptations, personal responsibility, flexibility, strength training, coordination, and goal setting. Flexibility is the range of motion (ROM) in which a person can move a joint or series of joints.
It is also affected by the mobility of the muscles. Factors that influence flexibility include age, gender, joint structure, muscle mass, the internal environment, and previous injuries. To improve flexibility, stretching exercises are recommended. Benefits of maintaining good flexibility include reducing the risk of injury, reducing pain levels, improving posture and balance, greater strength, better physical performance and a better mental state.
Strength training is a form of exercise in which resistance is used to induce muscle contraction. This increases strength, anaerobic endurance (a short duration of activity without oxygen), skeletal muscle size, and bone density. Coordination is the ability to execute smooth, precise and controlled movements using the right muscles at the right time with the right intensity to achieve the desired action. Good coordination requires speed, distance, direction, time, and muscle tension. When selecting a rehabilitation center it is important to do sufficient research to ensure that it has qualified medical staff who can prepare an individualized plan that complements your unique needs.
The staff should be trained and certified professionals who can accurately monitor progress and make appropriate adjustments to medications, therapy sessions, and routine. The rehabilitation process can be divided into four basic stages: evaluation; stabilization; restoration; and maintenance. A team of professionals should be involved in the process including sports doctors, physiatrists (rehabilitation medicine professionals), orthopedists, physical therapists, rehabilitation workers, physical educators, coaches, sports coaches, psychologists and nutritionists. The team works closely with the athlete and coach to establish rehabilitation goals and analyze progress resulting from interventions. It is essential that rehabilitation and training be vigorous enough to prepare injured tissue for the demands of the game.
Mental strength is also important for progress in rehabilitation. To help prepare patients physically and psychologically for when the injured area is fully rehabilitated it is important to provide them with a program to keep unaffected areas in optimal condition. Rehabilitation programs aim to minimize loss associated with acute injury or chronic illness; promote recovery; maximize functional capacity; fitness; and performance. The therapeutic exercise part of the rehabilitation program should begin as soon as possible without causing aggravation. Exercising in the injured area is not recommended during this phase although there are some exceptions such as tendinopathy protocols used to rehabilitate Achilles tendon and patella injuries.