Orthopedics is the study of muscles and bones. The musculoskeletal system is what enables us to perform our daily activities. If it doesn’t function correctly, we may feel held back.
The musculoskeletal system helps us get through our everyday responsibilities—and have a social life too. When the system is compromised, people tend to think they’ll end up with a lesser quality of life. This may be true—but only if they don’t get the help they need and do the work to get their bodies back up to speed. The best way to do this is through orthopedic rehabilitation (otherwise known as physical therapy).
Through individual routines recommended by a trained professional, orthopedic rehabilitation can help people get back on track when they’re experiencing a malfunction nearly anywhere in their system. How can you know which method is right for you out of all that orthopedic rehabilitation has to offer?
It depends. Physical therapy, in general, has the power to help you return to where you were, physically, before an injury, illness, or aging—or as close as possible to it. When working the parts of your system that need extra care, you’re going to need to put in real effort and set goals for yourself. You’ll thank yourself in the end once you’re feeling significantly stronger in mind, body, and soul.
Here are some of the best ways that orthopedic rehabilitation has been used in different capacities for different challenges. New methods and technologies are being developed all the time, so the outlook for orthopedic rehabilitation care plans can only improve from here.
Orthopedic Rehabilitation for Illness
When you develop a debilitating illness, it’s often not just the discomfort that challenges you—it’s the thought that you may never get to do the things your family and friends get to do (or things that you loved doing on your own). You may fear you’ll miss out on some of the best things life has to offer. These thoughts and feelings can affect your mental health and make matters even worse.
Fortunately, you can make many of these worries a thing of the past. You can actively improve your situation with the right attitude—and the secret weapons we have in store for you.
Parkinson’s: Tremor Fix and Balance Assistance
Studies have shown that exercise is as effective at reducing symptoms as one of the leading Parkinson’s drug treatments. The same studies have also shown us that exercise during orthopedic rehabilitation can even increase the effectiveness of your medications if you are taking any to manage the effects or symptoms of this disease.
You can try your hand at many different types of exercises to get your body moving. From yoga and dance to swimming, exercises can help with balance, posture, and gait. The repetitive motion is what gets your body used to feeling the way it was meant to feel and hold the positions it was meant to hold again.
Try starting slowly by going on progressively longer walks. As someone with Parkinson’s, the most important thing you can do is make sure you’re incorporating cardio into your workouts. Even just going for a stroll around the block can get your blood pumping, joints moving, muscles flexing, and, ultimately, lessen your tremors. As you’ll read more about later, sitting still for too long is one of the worst things you can do.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS): Help With Fatigue, Confidence, and Strength
With a progressive disease like MS, the goal is to achieve and maintain optimal body function. Orthopedic rehabilitation for MS helps in physical, psychological, vocational, and social capacities. To reach maximum potential while battling the effects of this condition, exercising and not solely relying on medications will ensure you’re getting your life back in all affected areas.
Despite this illness’s ability to cause trouble with all sorts of tasks, from dressing and personal care to critical thinking and even swallowing, the right moves and technologies will help with overall conditioning. They can reduce fatigue, which will help you in both work and play. Being able to continue with your normal daily activities leads to an increase in confidence, which may have been low upon initial diagnosis.
Training at your rehab facility could consist of energy conservation techniques, problem-solving skills, and working out parts of the body so that your chances of paralysis or impairment are lowered. Physical training will also focus on improving control over the coordination, upper body movement, and endurance required for walking. Additionally, some people will take part in acupuncture, massage, chiropractic medicine, tai chi, and prescription medication in combination with their rehab program’s specialized techniques.
Orthopedic Rehabilitation for Injury
Whether you’re experiencing a brain injury or a physical injury that has had a direct impact on your extremities, injuries affect many different aspects of a person’s life. From strokes to broken bones and torn muscles, your mobility can be affected. Luckily, you can learn how to put healing on the fast track and regain control of your body.
While there will likely be some normal discomfort that comes with a good workout, don’t quit. Moving your body again is great for you. You may want to resist because it seems hard or feels a little strange, but if you don’t put yourself somewhat out of your comfort zone, growth simply cannot happen. You want to create a new you that makes a comeback and feels stronger than ever.
Stroke: Speech and Memory/Cognitive Function Boost
More than 4 million survivors of stroke have difficulty walking. However, the University of Florida conducted a study on affected individuals who were six months or even a year out from their stroke and their progress with physical therapy programs. The majority of those exercising with a device that provided partial body-weight support—otherwise known as locomotor training—saw significant improvements in their mobility.
And the exercise didn’t even need to be intense. Rather, the orthopedic rehabilitation workouts simply had to incorporate some form of movement, and they had to stick to it. Participants were also thrilled to find that they were able to increase their walking speed and overall motor recovery.
While some people may think that a stroke is an illness because of the mobility troubles that can accompany it, it is actually an injury. If you have experienced a stroke, do keep in mind that the brain is a part of your body that will need healing—and a very important body part, at that.
Communication between the brain and the extremities can cause plenty of difficulty with movement. This is because the brain injury hinders the control of and messaging between other parts of your system—from your spine to your toes—to make sure they all work and communicate together.
Physical Injury to Extremities, Spine, and Beyond: Coordination and Pain Improvement
While walking is powered by the brain—as you read earlier—and severe injuries of all kinds can affect mental health, it is still essential to include orthopedic rehabilitation in order to recover from physical injury. Caused by brakes, tears, twists, and so on, physical injuries can throw a wrench in your plans of moving around easily, freely, and without pain.
As we all know, it’s hard to walk when something directly involved in the process is broken, like a leg bone. But what about when other types of injuries or conditions cause swelling? Inflammation in our knees, ankles, and other joints blocks them from moving properly. With severe physical injuries, ice isn’t enough to reduce swelling—you need to also add more movement to the equation. Swelling can occur in individuals with arthritis, MS, stroke victims, and many other conditions.
Ironically, this uncomfortable phenomenon is your body’s direct response to something going wrong—it’s an attempt to fix you. However, when fluids meant to help repair the body continue to build up, you’re not going anywhere easily unless you free up the passageways around the injury.
Not to mention, you’re likely in pain if there’s swelling. As mentioned earlier, while you might experience some discomfort upfront, your long-term improvement should greatly outweigh any initial workout soreness. So be sure to release or ease the pressure with regular exercise as prescribed by a professional.
Orthopedic Rehabilitation for Seniors
Orthopedic rehabilitation is still beneficial if nothing is “wrong” with you, per se. Getting older is a natural part of life and one that we need to be thankful for—even though sometimes things can seem glum and restricting. The feeling of slowing down simply comes from aging cells during this new stage of life.
However, that doesn’t mean that you should stop doing the things you love to do. In fact, it just means you ought to try a bit harder at keeping everything moving. To treat your body with the utmost care and respect that it deserves, you shouldn’t be babying yourself. There is such a thing as taking it too easy.
Although you may feel like sitting down and remaining stationary for much of your day, the best thing for you to do is to make use of the information in this article and apply it to your life moving forward. Ensure you are making progress and fighting signs of aging rather than simply letting it happen passively. The choice is yours, but we’re confident you’ll be quite happy with the results if you take a stand, as you’ll feel so much more alive than you thought you could! People are generally not as weak as they believe they are. You are capable.
Aging: Circulation Aid and Flexibility Increase
When we age, our cells begin to deteriorate, and joints and muscles stiffen when they are not used. This is why people shrink as they age. If you want to maintain flexibility, range of motion, and circulation, heed our advice. Aside from stiffness and eventual cell death, it’s crucial that you’re moving around enough to keep your blood pumping. Without proper blood flow, you’re more prone to dangerous clots.
We know that exercise for the general population can help protect against heart disease, diabetes, and more. But evidence suggests that the right amount of exercise can lower the risk of things like frailty and dementia in senior citizens in particular—factors that would otherwise create a roadblock to your hopes of true independence.
With the right moves and gear—such as a little resistance training and strengthening of the quadriceps, for example—aches that come with aging can decrease. Exercises can also help muscles absorb some of the burden imposed on the knee joint, which decreases arthritis symptoms.
These ALL Sound Beneficial—But What’s the BEST Course of Action?
While we highlighted specific exercises that can benefit each injury or illness—such as Parkinson’s, MS, aging, etc.—those were just a few examples of how to use orthopedic rehabilitation to improve your quality of life after an injury or illness. At the end of the day, patients that incorporate intentional movement into their routine are far more likely to see improvements in their conditions—whether physical, mental, emotional, or a combination of all three.
The key here—once you have consulted with your medical provider and determined the best plan of action for you—is to couple the assigned therapy routine with cutting-edge tools. It’s likely you will not get the full impact of one without the other. Motion therapy equipment works wonders, as you’ve probably noticed if you’ve visited a rehab facility before. Physical therapy would not be the same without a comprehensive collection of movement devices that target specific muscle groups and needs.
Through exercise and movement, you can improve in many different areas of your health. Many of the benefits listed above under illnesses, injuries, or age-related factors that hinder mobility can absolutely overlap between sections. The best technologies used at home, at the facility of your choice, or at the facility your physician sends you to are the ones that help you regain independence and get your body to bend at your will.
Being able to move your body is, of course, a big part of that. However, it will be a journey. You may be just at the beginning—looking up at the mountain and wondering where you will go from here, or what you should do to start. Innovative technology that gives your musculoskeletal system the push it needs and keeps you moving is available right now. You just have to know where to look and who to talk to. Get in touch with us to learn about some of the best tools created to be used in conjunction with a proper routine and skyrocket your results. We can help you learn more about what will be most effective for your healing process and what each device does.