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What Are Rehabilitation Exercises?

A person using an elastic bandage during knee rehab.
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  • Written By: Patti Kate
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 17 April 2014
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Rehabilitation exercises are typically designed by a physical or occupational therapist to help a person recover from an injury. Rehabilitation exercises are also recommended as part of a post-operative therapy program for patients. By participating in rehabilitation exercises, the patient can regain or build strength, endurance, and mobility. These exercises are typically performed under the supervision of a physician or therapist, who will often recommend the patient continue his physical therapy exercises at home.

Occupational exercises may include sports rehab exercises for professional athletes, or physical therapy exercises for individuals who have been injured at work. Many industrial hazards can result in chronic conditions that therapy exercises may be able to correct. The main goal of a regimen of rehabilitation exercises is to strengthen core muscles and tendons and to prevent further injury.

Ergonomic techniques are an important part of rehabilitation for many patients. Finding a way to naturally improve posture can help individuals who suffer from ongoing back or spinal pain. A therapist may teach a patient how to modify work habits and posture to relieve problems in the joints and muscles. Patients suffering from chronic conditions such as shoulder or elbow tendonitis or bursitis may find rehabilitation exercises relieve the pain.

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A rehab exercise program also can improve the limited mobility some patients experience due to injury, disease, or post-operative stress. Improved range of motion is one of the benefits of these exercises. Some exercises and techniques are designed to help prevent conditions such as frozen shoulder, which occurs when the patient is unable to move the joint for an extended period of time.

After a total knee replacement surgery, a patient will typically receive rehabilitation exercises. This course of physical therapy is designed to help the person adapt to the use of walking supports. A walking program may be recommended as part of the exercise program to restore mobility.

Rehabilitation may include exercises performed on an upper body ergometer, stationary bicycle, or treadmill. For many types of rehab exercises, other equipment may be used as well. Treadmills are often used as cardiac rehabilitation exercise equipment. Hand barbells can be used to strengthen the shoulders, upper arms, and wrists.

When patients with back, neck, or joint injuries receive rehabilitation exercises, their chances for recovery can greatly improve. Not only can muscles, tendons, and ligaments be strengthened, blood circulation to the affected area may also be improved. Increased blood circulation can speed up healing and help reduce inflammation.

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