Exercise: The Ideal Post-Rehabilitation Prescription



America is facing unprecedented epidemics of obesity and widespread physical inactivity. And chronic diseases remain the leading cause of death and disability in the United States, despite the fact that most of those diseases can be prevented with regular exercise and healthy lifestyle choices. So where do people typically go for relief once these illnesses catch up with them? To the doctor.

Yet , due to current health-care and insurance limitations, patients are not always fully recovered upon discharge by their health-care providers, and are not sure of what to do next. 

According to the Health Resources and Services Administration for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, approximately 85 percent of today’s population has undergone some sort of physical therapy for an ailment or injury. The challenge to the health-care professional is to provide the best care within the guidelines set by the insurance company. To do what is best for his or her patient, the health-care professional may suggest setting up an after-care or post-rehab program with someone the patient feels comfortable with. For many people, this means physical therapy. However, physical-therapy patients are generally discharged once their pain becomes manageable and/or they achieve range-of-motion and strength measurements that are within functional limits for daily living. At this point, however, many of these discharged patients are confused about how to proceed. Do they join a health club? Find a personal trainer? Resume the exercise program they followed prior to injury? Hope they have the discipline to maintain the exercises they were given in physical therapy?  

A few progressive physical-therapy centers are taking a proactive approach and developing exercise-based post-rehab programs within their facilities to enhance and extend the healing process. This approach helps to improve or maintain the gains made in physical therapy, in-patient rehabilitation or other rehabilitational experiences. Such programs take post-therapy patients beyond simple functional limits, to safely bring their bodies and their functionality as close to 100 percent as possible.  These programs are led by therapists who have knowledge of the injury process and the dynamics involved. These rehab teams may include registered kinesiotherapists, occupational therapists, physical therapists and certified fitness specialists who help individuals of all ages entering exercise-based rehabilitation programs.

Exercise-based rehabilitation programs focus on patients’ injuries or ailments and look into the pathomechanics that may have caused them. Therapists develop a total-body program to avoid exacerbating injuries and point out bodily deficiencies that either led to or were caused by injuries. Through careful, individualized evaluation, therapists create one-on-one rehabilitation programs involving postural realignment, gait training, corrective strength and flexibility exercises, as well as hands-on treatments such as soft-tissue therapy and other modalities to meet patients’ needs and goals.

These post-rehabilitation services have improved the strength, flexibility and endurance of patients who have suffered from a range of challenges, including strokes, traumatic brain injuries, back pain or muscle spasms and strains, shoulder impingements, arthritis, joint reconstructions, neck and shoulder problems, tennis and golf elbow, fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis. Patients with other special concerns—such as diabetes, cardiac issues, breast cancer, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease—also can benefit from participating in such exercise programs.

According to a paper published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, 92 percent of patients agreed or strongly agreed with the following statement: “If my doctor advised me to exercise, I would follow his or her advice.” What’s more, a public opinion survey conducted by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) found that nearly two-thirds of patients (65 percent) would be more interested in exercising to stay healthy if so advised by their doctors and given additional resources. The prescription pad is a powerful tool, and doctors can use it for more than just ordering medications. They can prescribe exercise.


Aaron Unger is a kinesiotherapist and the owner of Just Be Fit, Inc., a center for exercise-based rehabilitation, physical therapy, and personal training, located at 420 Lake Cook Rd. in Deerfield. Marianne Vuckovich is a kinesiotherapist at Just Be Fit. For more information, contact 847-444-1348 or justbefit@msn.com, or see JustBeFitInc.com.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from Natural Awakenings

Green Surfing

Ecosia, a German Internet search engine, has planted more than 52 million trees in the last 10 years by diverting its advertising revenue to funding new trees worldwide.

Aqua Breakthrough

Chinese scientists have used ultraviolet light and graphitic carbon nitride to purify two and a half gallons of water in one hour.

Far Out

The outermost region of the Earth’s atmosphere has been newly determined to reach out much farther than the moon.

Baby Balking

The U.S. birthrate has been falling steadily, partly because prospective parents are worried about the increased frequency and intensity of storm, drought and wildfires, as well as about growing geopolitical unrest and resource scarcity.

Revamping Recycling

China, a major importer of recycled waste, is rejecting shipments contaminated by greasy pizza boxes, polyethylene-lined disposable coffee cups, and plastics like yogurt cups and butter tubs.

Add your comment:
Edit ModuleShow Tags

See More »This Month

Love Even More

Here’s a practical process you can use to cultivate mindfulness and love even more.

Amitabul Restaurant Offers Vegan Fare for Health

The Choi brothers' Amitabul is an all-vegan restaurant known for serving healthful foods based on their family’s recipes combined with Buddhist philosophies of cooking.

Children Grow, Connect and Heal Through Yoga

Many places now offer yoga for a younger crowd, and children as young as preschoolers are taking advantage.

Exercise: The Ideal Post-Rehabilitation Prescription

A few progressive physical-therapy centers are taking a proactive approach and developing exercise-based post-rehab programs within their facilities to enhance and extend the healing process.

Move Fully into Life This Year

Discover what keeps you from stepping fully into your life and move beyond negative beliefs, bad habits or unhealthy relationships. Shamanic practitioner Kathleen Rude will help you discover how in her Cord-Cutting Workshop.

Massage Specialists on Staff to Treat Cancer Patients

Therapeutic Kneads of Highland Park is proud to announce that several Licensed Massage Therapists on its staff are now certified in massage for cancer patients.