What is the first phase of rehabilitation?

The first stage of physical rehabilitation is the recovery stage. This is the most important stage in the treatment process and, depending on the severity of the injuries, it may also be the longest. The first stage of recovery is to minimize additional damage and allow the body to begin the healing process. The body's first reaction to injury is inflammation and pain.

The better you can regulate inflammation, control pain and protect the injured part of the body to prevent further damage, we have begun the recovery process. Phase 1 of the rehabilitation process focuses on managing pain and swelling (if present). The general rule in this phase is Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation (RICE). Licensed medical professionals (such as sports coaches or physical therapists) may also use other modalities, such as electrical stimulation or ultrasound, to help with this process.

If necessary, doctors can choose to prescribe medications. After the initial phase of treatment, subacute treatment should be initiated. Simply put, some tension is applied to the affected area or to the injury. For muscle injuries, this may take the form of the use of light weights, in lower limb fractures it may take the form of increasing the amount of weight that can be applied.

If the load of the affected area is carefully managed at this stage, not only can the recovery be filtered, but it also translates into greater repair resilience. This leads to phase 5 of the rehabilitation process, which gradually returns the athlete to full activity. However, most physical therapists will try to guide you through four broad phases of injury rehabilitation. The magnitude of functional loss may be influenced by the nature and timing of the therapeutic and rehabilitation intervention during the initial phase of the injury.

The objectives of the second phase of rehabilitation include limiting deterioration and recovering functional losses. Therefore, 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. This phase of injury rehabilitation can include restoring coordination and balance, improving speed, agility and sport-specific skills, moving from simple to complex.

Blanche Taboada
Blanche Taboada

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