Therapeutic exercise encompasses a variety of physical activities that are geared towards restoring and maintaining body strength, balance, and stability. These activities employ planned physical movements which enable patients to partake in various physical activities, improve flexibility and endurance, and prevent impairment of bodily structures and functions.
The systematic execution of therapeutic exercise serves to optimize your overall fitness and health. By first targeting areas where you’ve been experiencing pain or weakness, this physical therapy treatment enables you to rebuild muscle strength, regain or improve your range of motion, and reducing risks of muscle injuries. As a result, you will gain better control of your body movements and be able to function at a higher level.
Types of Therapeutic Exercise
A therapeutic exercise program can include any of the following types of exercises depending on the needs, goals and abilities of the patient.
These are exercises in which the patient carries out specific physical movements on their own without any direct assistance from their physical therapist. For instance, walking on a treadmill would be considered an active therapeutic exercise.
There are different types of active exercises including:
- Flexibility exercises:These involve different stretching techniques to encourage greater movement, which in turn allows for greater flexibility.
- Strengthening exercises:These emphasize on heavy resistance and allow only a limited number of repetitions during the movements to build muscle strength.
- Balance and coordination exercises:These emphasize upon the patient’s center of gravity, and employ techniques that focus on their balance and coordination.
- Endurance exercises:These are aimed at the large muscle groups that are kept engaged for a greater duration in order to improve endurance.
- Functional movement exercises:These exercises help identify the different movement patterns adopted by the patient, which makes it easier to uncover the underlying problem and get to the root cause of the musculoskeletal pain.
As the name suggests, this form of active exercise requires assistance by the physical therapist who facilitates the patient’s movements. While the patient is still exerting physical force on their own up to a certain extent, the therapist guides them through these motions for safe and supervised movements. An example of this would be a therapist assisting a patient with lifting their arm overhead when lying on their back or in the upright position. Passive Exercises
In contrast to the exercises mentioned above, passive exercises refer to those in which patients are guided almost entirely through the motions by their therapist without exerting any physical exertion of their own. These therapeutic exercises are typically reserved for patients who are unable to move their limbs (for e.g.,post-stroke or post-surgery) and need assistance in preventing muscle spasms and stiffness.
Who Needs Therapeutic Exercise?
Anyone can benefit from therapeutic exercise, however, it can be especially beneficial to individuals who have chronic pain, are recovering from an injury, have hadan accident causing them limited mobility, have recently undergone a surgical procedure, or had anathletic injury.
Therapeutic exercise helps in lowering or eliminating pain and stiffness felt in joints and muscles. It also reduces the risks of further injury of the muscles by strengthening them and increasing their endurance. This makes it an extremely effective form of physical therapy for most individuals.
At ProMove PT Pain Specialists in Bethesda, Dr. Michelle Finnegan offers effective individualized therapeutic exercises as part of her physical therapy treatment. Book an appointment now!