Last updated date: 24-Apr-2023
Originally Written in English
What is Rehabilitation?
Rehabilitation is the process of assisting an individual in achieving the best potential degree of function, independence, and quality of life. Rehabilitation does not cure or reverse the damage caused by sickness or trauma, but rather assists in returning the individual to optimal health, functionality, and well-being.
Rehabilitation therapy services are designed to return your body to peak performance. Rehabilitation treatment provides a controlled, therapeutic environment to help your body heal as you restore strength, relearn lost abilities, or find new methods to conduct things that are now difficult.
Fundamentally, rehabilitation is based on the belief that everyone has an innate propensity and right to be an expert in their own health care. This distinguishes acute care from rehabilitation, where acute care is concerned with an individual's survival, whereas rehabilitation is concerned with educating and training individuals to be able to carry out activities of daily living on their own, thereby promoting self-care and functional independence.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), rehabilitation is an important component of Universal Health Coverage (UHC), along with "promotion of good health, illness prevention, treatment, and palliative care." Thus, rehabilitation focuses on gaining functional independence in activities of daily living (ADL), participation in jobs, recreation, and education, as well as persons achieving meaningful roles in everyday life. Clearly, rehabilitation is critical to obtaining not just individual health advantages, but also an overall universal health aim that allows for the construction of a healthy and functional global population.
Who needs rehabilitation?
Rehabilitation is a frequently discussed topic across the world. This is hardly surprising given that over a billion people live with a disability, accounting for more than 15% of the global population. Furthermore, according to a recent estimate, 2.41 billion people globally live with illnesses that impair their everyday tasks and would benefit from rehabilitation services, equating to one in every three people requiring rehabilitation services during the length of their sickness or injury.
Over the next 30 years, the share of the global population over 60 will quadruple, with the majority of these people living with chronic illnesses, notably noncommunicable diseases. These shifting health and demographic trends are fueling substantial global increases in the number of persons experiencing functional decline, culminating in massive unmet rehabilitation requirements. Many of these unmet requirements are concentrated among the poorest and most vulnerable populations in low- and middle-income nations and conflict-affected areas, which are frequently ill-equipped to meet the growing demand for rehabilitation services.
Rehabilitation is for persons who have lost abilities necessary for everyday living. Among the most prevalent reasons are:
- Injuries and trauma, such as burns, fractures (broken bones), traumatic brain damage, and spinal cord injuries
- Severe infections
- Major surgery
- Side effects from medical treatments, such as from cancer treatments
- Certain birth defects and genetic disorders
- Developmental disabilities
- Chronic pain, including back and neck pain
What is the goal of rehabilitation treatment?
Because rehabilitation medicine is tailored to each individual's needs, each program is distinctive. The following are some general therapy components for rehabilitation programs:
- Treating the primary illness and avoiding complications
- Addressing the impairment and enhancing function
- Providing adaptive tools and modifying the surroundings
- Educating the patient and his or her family and assisting them in adapting to lifestyle changes
Many factors influence rehabilitation success, including the following:
- The kind and severity of the condition, disease, or damage
- The nature and severity of any associated impairments and disabilities
- The overall health of the patient
- Family support
The main purpose of rehabilitation is to assist you in restoring your talents and regaining your independence. However, each person's objectives are unique. They are determined by what caused the problem, whether it is continuing or temporary, which skills you lost, and the severity of the condition. As an example:
- A stroke patient may require rehabilitation to be able to dress or wash without assistance.
- An active individual who has suffered a heart attack may seek cardiac rehabilitation in order to resume physical activity.
- A person with a lung disease may benefit from pulmonary rehabilitation to help them breathe better and live a better life.
Elements of rehabilitation treatment
It happens immediately following a new diagnosis or the beginning of new disabilities. The goal is to give information, counseling, and treatments to avoid or delay the emergence of subsequent impairments and to keep a person's ability level stable. This is a frequent kind of rehabilitation in long-term diseases such as cancer, COPD, diabetes, and many neurological problems. It also serves as the foundation for assisted self-management and can involve treatments targeted at preserving function for as long as feasible.
Restorative rehabilitation focuses on therapies that restore impairments such as muscle strength or respiratory function, as well as cognitive impairment, in order to achieve maximum function recovery. In order to optimize function, this is a popular kind of rehabilitation following surgery, sickness, or acute events such as a significant trauma or a stroke.
Supportive rehabilitation improves a person's capacity to care for themselves and mobility by offering self-help gadgets and training individuals compensatory tactics or alternate ways of doing things. This may involve the supply of assistive equipment or changes to the surroundings. This is also known as adaptive rehabilitation.
Palliative rehabilitation helps persons with life-limiting illnesses to live a full physical, psychological, and social life while respecting their choices. It frequently focuses on symptom relief, such as pain, dyspnea, and oedema, contracture prevention, breathing help, psychological well-being, relaxation, or the use of assistive devices, in order to enhance functional independence and promote comfort, dignity, and quality of life.
What are the types of rehabilitation treatment?
Occupational, physical, and speech therapy are the three basic categories of rehabilitation treatment. Each type of rehabilitation serves a different function in assisting a person's full recovery, but they all have the ultimate objective of assisting the patient in returning to a healthy and active lifestyle.
Rehabilitation therapy can be used to address a variety of injuries and illnesses. Orthopedic and musculoskeletal injuries such as sprains/strains/tears or post-surgical rehabilitation, neurological injuries such as stroke, brain damage, or spinal cord injury, and multi-trauma injuries from accidents are all common disorders addressed. Other less prevalent ailments addressed include hereditary abnormalities, degenerative diseases, and other specialist problems.
The purpose of rehabilitative treatment differs from one person to the next. Every patient is questioned about their rehabilitation goals, and then a plan is created. This may involve many forms of therapy such as physical, occupational, speech, music, or recreational therapy, as well as various treatment approaches such as therapeutic exercise, manual therapy, neurological re-education, or pain management modalities.
What is physical therapy?
Physical therapy is a sort of rehabilitation treatment that seeks to correct movement problems. Using focused exercise and a variety of other therapy approaches, therapists work with patients to regain mobility, strength, stability, and/or functional capacity while also reducing pain.
Physical therapists help people who are in pain or having trouble working, moving, or living normally. Physical therapy is commonly used to relieve pain, improve movement, provide rehabilitation after a stroke, injury, or surgery, aid in postpartum recovery, aid in the recovery of sports-related injuries, teach individuals how to use devices such as walkers and canes, manage chronic illnesses such as heart disease or arthritis, and more.
Activities of physical therapy:
If your doctor recommends physical therapy, a therapist will first check your mobility, balance, heart rate, posture, and ability to walk or climb stairs. Your therapist will then devise a plan to alleviate symptoms and assist you in regaining functioning or mobility. Common treatments include:
- Special exercises and stretches designed to relieve pain, improve mobility or regain strength
- Massage, heat or cold therapy or ultrasound to ease muscle pain and spasms
- Rehab and exercises to help you learn to use an artificial limb
- Practicing with gadgets that assist in movement or balance, such as canes, crutches, walkers or wheelchairs
- Balance and gait retraining
- Pain management
- Cardiovascular strengthening
- Casting, splinting, burn care or use of orthotics (braces or splints)
Stages of physical therapy:
The recovery stage:
The Recovery Step is the initial stage of physical rehabilitation. This is the most critical part of the treatment cycle, and it can also be the longest depending on the severity of your injuries. This initial stage's purpose is straightforward: to rest and enable your body to begin the healing process. It is critical to relax and avoid exacerbating the injury as much as possible. This may include removing weight or pressure from the damaged region or slinging or casting the injury. During this stage, treating inflammation and discomfort is also critical; approaches may include ice/heat, over-the-counter pain relievers like NSAIDs, or prescription drugs.
The repair stage:
Following the commencement of the healing process, the next phase is to begin regaining movement and mobility. The Repair Stage's major purpose is to carefully bring your body back to pre-injury range-of-motion (ROM) levels, or as near to pre-injury levels as feasible. Soft-tissue and mild range-of-motion exercises are essential at this time to avoid over-extending or aggravating the injury. Flexibility exercises can also aid in the prevention of long-term repercussions of diminished range of motion or function. Small weights can be used throughout the exercises if it is safe to do so, but more intense strength training is not recommended at this time.
The strength stage:
Once your range of motion has been restored to the greatest extent feasible, the next stage of physical rehabilitation is to begin recovering strength. Resting during the Recovery Stage can result in muscle atrophy or wasting, resulting in weakness and loss of endurance. The objective of the Strength Stage is to minimize these losses and return to pre-injury levels of muscle strength and endurance, as well as cardiovascular endurance. Strength training may be done securely and correctly with the use of weight machines, avoiding the danger of aggravating or developing new ailments. This is a tremendous advantage, and it makes them excellent rehabilitation tools.
The function stage:
The final phase in the rehabilitation process is to work on restoring function. In order to properly return a patient to pre-injury levels of function, higher-level capacities must be addressed to limit the danger of re-injury. Effective therapy will detect any inadequacies in these capacities, assess the severity of these deficiencies, and create techniques to restore these capabilities to pre-injury levels. These skills might include:
- Change-of-direction capability
- Rate-of-force development (the speed at which force can be produced)
What is occupational therapy?
Occupational therapists (OTs) conduct occupational therapy treatments to assist people who need specialized support to engage in daily activities or vocations. Occupations might include self-care routines, daily responsibilities, and leisure interests in addition to work or your employment. The purpose of occupational therapy is to assist people in doing the activities they want and need to accomplish in order to live an independent and fulfilling life.
Occupational therapists assist people by making modifications to items that make it difficult for them to do tasks including eating, dressing, brushing their teeth, completing school activities, and working. Modifications may involve modifying the method to the activity, changing the environment in which the task is accomplished, or assisting a person in developing abilities required to complete specific activities.
Who needs occupational therapy?
People of all ages, from babies to the elderly, may require occupational therapy. Occupational therapy can benefit these people in a variety of ways, including:
- Children with physical limitations may require the assistance of a therapist in order to learn the coordination required to feed themselves, use a computer, or improve their handwriting.
- Adults suffering from depression may require therapist suggestions to gradually re-engage in everyday activities in a way that enhances their chances of recovery.
- A person who is unable to hold a fork due to an injury may work with a therapist to develop grip strength and adapt actions so that they may feed themselves independently.
- older people with physical limitations may require the assistance of a therapist in order to participate in activities they like in new and adapted ways.
- Those who have suffered a spinal cord injury may require the assistance of a therapist to prevent actions or habits that might aggravate their damage.
- Working with a therapist to build an ideal work/life balance meant to decrease stress and promote health, or modifying their work environment based on ergonomic principles.
- A person who has suffered a traumatic brain injury and has lost cognitive function may require the assistance of a therapist with things such as looking for employment or completing college applications.
Benefits of occupational therapy:
Help children learn and thrive
Children with physical or mental disabilities may require more support in school. Occupational therapists can assist children who are having problems studying in school.
Children who work with occupational therapists learn in ways that are particular to their needs. If you have a special needs kid, an occupational therapist can also help. They can demonstrate the most effective methods for teaching your youngster new skills or information. With the assistance of a therapist, children of various abilities may acquire important life skills.
Older folks may lose their freedom as they age. Family members or loved ones may be anxious that an older person will fall or injure themselves when at home alone. They may also be concerned about an elderly person's recovery following a fall or a cerebrovascular condition.
Occupational therapists can help elderly people recover their independence by concentrating on their physical and mental health. A therapist can assist with hygienic tasks such as bathing, toileting, and brushing one's teeth. They may also help a person learn to cook for themselves or pay for their expenditures. The therapist will work with the individual to help them develop the skills that are most important in their everyday life.
Occupational therapists are frequently connected with physical health difficulties, but they may also help with mental health issues like memory.
Memory problems are common among the elderly, but they are not always present. Working with an occupational therapist may assist you in avoiding or improving memory loss.
Occupational therapists employ memory games and puzzles to help patients enhance their memory. An occupational therapist cannot cure dementia or Alzheimer's disease, but they can offer advice on how to live a better life.
Because they focus on daily routines, occupational therapists frequently engage with patients and families to design home adjustments. To continue increasing their capacity to operate at home, a handicapped person may require specific equipment. The therapist may also recommend a certain room design or colors for other household products.
A therapist can also teach an individual or their caregiver how to utilize or build home modifications. These modifications include a walk-in bathroom or shower, a wheelchair ramp, and extra handrails throughout the house.
Another advantage of occupational therapy is that it may provide guidance and training to families. Disabled youngsters and children with elderly parents usually seek out occupational therapists.
Caregivers will be explained the problem and the treatment method by therapists. They will provide guidance and advise on how to properly help the client and what to expect along the way.
Dealing with visual impairment
Occupational therapists help people who have visual issues. They can help people with vision difficulties by creating home modifications and offering training.
An occupational therapist may recommend color-coded signs or magnification devices to increase visibility at a person's home or business. Although a therapist cannot restore perfect eyesight, they can help a person live a happier, less stressful life.
Patience and kindness
Above all, occupational therapists are some of the most selfless members of the health-care system. They care about their patients and interact with them and their family in a caring and compassionate manner. Occupational therapists are trustworthy professionals who family and friends may turn to if they have concerns or questions about aiding a loved one who is unwell, either physically or mentally. Occupational therapy may boost a person's happiness and self-esteem since it makes them feel successful and supported by their therapist.
What is speech therapy?
Speech therapists (sometimes known as speech-language pathologists) treat people who have difficulty speaking. Speech therapy can assist treat a wide range of language, communication, voice, swallowing, and fluency disorders. A speech therapist may assist neonates with problems such as cerebral palsy, cleft palate, or Down syndrome that cause difficulty drinking, swallowing, or talking.
Children with speech difficulties, such as stammering or a lisp, might benefit from therapist-led communication activities. Adults who have learning disabilities or another ailment, such as stroke, neck or head cancer, Parkinson's disease, or dementia, can also benefit from speech therapy.
The purpose of speech therapy is to integrate the mechanics of speaking with the use of language. As a result, the patient will be able to communicate in more helpful and functional ways.
Language intervention activities (language drills to practice communication skills), articulation therapy (demonstrating how to use the tongue to generate different sounds), and feeding and swallowing treatment are all common strategies utilized by speech therapists (tongue, lip and jaw exercises designed to strengthen the muscles of the mouth and throat).
Conditions that may require speech therapy:
- Dyslexia - trouble reading fluently and correctly
- Dyspraxia - controlling muscular function for movement, coordination, language, or speech is tough.
- Aphasia - a lack of speech comprehension or expression as a result of brain injury
- Dysphagia - difficulty swallowing
- Articulation problems - difficulty speaking clearly and making errors in sounds
- Fluency problems - difficulty with the flow of speech, such as stuttering
- Resonance or voice problems - difficulty with voice pitch, volume and quality
- Oral feeding problems - difficulty with eating, swallowing or drooling
- Parkinson’s disease
- Cerebral palsy
- Cleft palate
- Down syndrome
- Multiple sclerosis
- Huntington’s disease
- Cancer of the head, neck or throat
Benefits of speech therapy:
Help with communication
For children who do not have a voice, providing unaided and/or assisted communication (e.g., no-tech communication materials, low and mid-tech communication devices, high-tech communication devices, and/or communication applications). Speech and language therapy includes both speech and language. Many people feel that speech therapy is solely for improving one's speech; nevertheless, it is much more.
Help with social skills
Appropriate pragmatic/social skills are required for people to interact with others in their society and in their everyday lives. When you have minimal or no functional speech, your pragmatic language abilities are generally significantly delayed and disordered. To address social skills, video modeling, role-playing, particular therapeutic software, social storytelling, and other strategies and resources can all be employed. In addition to these strategies, speech therapy incorporates the use of facilitated communication to concentrate on building key interpersonal skills.
Help with reading
Speech delay can have an impact on listening, reading, and writing. Reading and reading skills can assist you in communicating more successfully. You will be able to converse freely once you have learned how to spell. Teaching these vital skills will help you communicate with others more successfully.
Enhances alternative communication methods
Work on alternative communication strategies such as gestures, sign language, approximations, vocalizations, and/or other modes of communication to aid conversation. Humans communicate in a holistic manner. Speech, facial expressions, gestures, eye contact, writing, typing, and a variety of other methods are all used to communicate.
If you have been injured, had some types of surgery, or have physical restrictions due to aging or underlying health concerns, rehabilitation may be required to return your body to its optimal form and function. Without a proper treatment plan, the rehab process can take much longer than necessary, with the possibility of suboptimal recovery.