October is Physical Therapy Month. If you are in the hospital recovering from surgery, healing from an injury, or being treated for a disabling health problem, physical rehabilitation may be an important part of your treatment. Physical medicine and rehabilitation, or simply rehab, is a branch of medicine called physiatry. You may need this type of treatment for any health problem that affects your nerves, muscles, bones, or brain and is causing you temporary or permanent disability. Healthcare providers who plan your treatment are called physiatrists. They work along with a team of other health experts, such as physical therapists.
Conditions treated with physical therapy in the hospital
Many health problems that cause pain or limit your ability to move normally may be helped by physical therapy. This type of rehab may be needed at the hospital before you go home or to an extended care facility. Here are some health problems that it may help:
What happens during rehab treatments
At the hospital, your physiatrist may talk with you, examine you, order special tests, and look at your health records. Then he or she will come up with a rehab treatment plan to fit your needs. A physical therapist (PT) may help you carry out your plan. A PT is trained in how to restore physical mobility and function after an injury or surgery. Other specialists may also be involved, such as occupational therapists, speech and language therapists, social workers, and psychologists.
Here are some of the ways these healthcare providers can help you:
Physical therapy is a crucial part of recovery from many health problems you may face in the hospital. In many cases, it is the start of a process that will continue after you leave the hospital. It may be done at an extended care facility. Or you may do it at an outpatient physical therapy department or at home.
You can improve your chances of recovery by learning as much as you can about your health problem. Also work closely with all the members of your rehab team.