Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation After an Injury

March 28, 2024
Personal Injury

If you have sustained severe injuries, experienced a stroke, or undergone surgery, your doctor might recommend therapy to help you recover. Progressive physical therapy provides a controlled, medical environment that helps your body heal as you relearn skills you lost, regain strength, or find new ways to do activities that may now be unable to do.

A physical therapist takes care of patients in all stages of healing, from initial diagnosis through the preventive and restorative stages of recovery. 

Whichever way when a patient seeks a rehabilitation treatment program, they should expect to:

  • Undergo a physical exam evaluation, including an analysis of their health history and certain testing procedures, such as evaluation of movement and flexibility, posture, and muscle and joint performance and motion.
  • Receive a clinical prognosis, diagnosis, plan of care, and short and long-term recovery goals.
  • Receive physical therapy intervention and treatment based on the therapist’s examination and diagnosis.

Often, patients train with a therapist in beneficial exercises that they can do at home, which will help them function better.

What Is the Difference Between Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation?

Physical rehabilitation is required after a condition or physical injury which is causing you a temporary or permanent reduction in functionality. It's part of a branch of medicine which is known as physiatry. It involves restoring and improving your ability to carry out daily activities. Physiatrists are medical professionals who examine, diagnose, and manage common conditions and injuries such as joint conditions, spine injuries, severe or chronic pain, and other musculoskeletal conditions.

A physiatrist gives diagnoses and medical treatments to help patients experience better outcomes and better levels of independence. They improve what you can do and they work with you to help you adapt to what you can't do. A physiatrist assesses your requirements and needs by conducting a physical examination, diagnostic testing, and evaluating your medical records. Then, they create a personalized treatment plan to suit your requirements and often they prescribe treatments, including physical therapy, to help you recover.


Physical therapy aims to improve your functional ability, movement, and overall wellbeing. Also, it aims to improve your quality of life once you develop a medical condition or bodily injury or have after you've had surgery. It uses manual therapy approaches to improve the flexibility and alignment of your bones and soft tissues, reducing pain and improving functionality. Physical therapists also have the skills and education needed to work with patients who need assistive devices such as canes, walkers, braces, standers, wheelchairs, and shower chairs, and can them how to use those devices correctly and safely.

Learn More: Why You Shold go to a Doctor After a Car Accident

What are the Types of Rehabilitation for Injuries?

As with any medical practice, a variety of therapies can be applied to treat a range of conditions.

Orthopedic physical therapy treats musculoskeletal conditions, involving the bones, ligaments, muscles, tendons, and fascias. It's ideal for medical conditions such as bursitis, tendonitis, fractures, sprains, chronic medical problems, and recovery or rehabilitation from orthopedic surgery. 

Geriatric physical therapy helps older patients who develop medical conditions that affect their physical function and mobility, such as osteoporosis, arthritis, Alzheimer's disease, balance disorders, hip and joint replacement, and incontinence. This type of treatment focuses on restoring mobility, reducing pain, and increasing physical fitness levels.

Neurological physical therapy helps patients with neurological disorders and neurological conditions such as brain injury, cerebral palsy, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, brain injuries pediatric conditions, spinal cord injury, Parkinson’s disease, and stroke. Treatment aims to reverse increase muscles strength through reduction of muscle atrophy, treat paralysis, and increase limb responsiveness.

Cardiovascular rehabilitation and pulmonary rehabilitation benefits people affected by some cardiopulmonary conditions, cardiac conditions, and surgical procedures. This treatment improves physical stamina and endurance.

Pediatric physical therapy focuses on diagnosing, treating, and managing conditions that affect children, infants, and adolescents, including cerebral palsy, developmental delays, torticollis, spina bifida, and other musculoskeletal injuries and conditions that affect the musculoskeletal system.

Wound care therapy aims to make sure that the healing wound receives enough oxygen and blood through improved circulation. Physical therapy, in this case, includes the use of electric stimulation, manual therapies, wound care, and compression therapy.

Vestibular therapy focuses on treating balance problems are caused by inner ear conditions. It involves a number of manual techniques and exercises that help patients regain their normal coordination and balance.

Decongestive therapy aims to drain accumulated fluid in people with lymphedema and other conditions involving fluid accumulation.

Pelvic floor dysfunction rehabilitation focuses on treating urinary urgency, urinary or fecal incontinence, and pelvic pain in women and men caused by injuries or surgery, or from certain conditions.

Besides physical manipulation, a physical therapy treatment plan also may involve:

  • An ultrasound to promote blood circulation and quick recovery by heating the muscles, tendons, and soft tissue.
  • Phonophoresis, which leverages ultrasound to deliver some medications including topical steroids. This reduces the presence of inflammation.
  • Electrical stimulation, which uses topical electrodes on the skin to increase function capabilities and reduce acute pain. One type of electric stimulation is transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS). Sometimes, anti-inflammatory medications can be used with specific electrical stimulation modalities and this is referred to as iontophoresis
  • Heat, moist heat, and cold therapy
  • Light therapy. This is where special lasers and lights are used to treat specific medical conditions

Related: Best Chiropractors in Decatur

What are the Primary Benefits of Physical Therapy?

Depending on the reason for medical treatment, these are the benefits of physical therapy:

  • Avoiding surgery
  • Pain management with reduced need for opioids
  • Improved movement and mobility
  • Recovery from trauma and injury
  • Recovery from paralysis or stroke 
  • Preventing falls
  • Improved coordination and balance
  • Management of age-related medical problems


A physical therapist can advise patients about the benefits specific based on personal medical history and their need for medical treatment.

Who Requires Occupational Therapy?

People of all ages, from seniors to newborns mat need occupational therapy. There are countless ways in which occupational therapy can benefit these individuals, including:

  • Children with physical disabilities might need an occupational therapist to help them develop the coordination they need to feed themselves, improve their handwriting, or use a computer.
  • Adults suffering from depression might require recommendations from an occupational therapist to re-engage in daily tasks gradually and in a manner that improves their chances for success.
  • An individual who can't hold a fork because of an injury might work with an occupational therapist to regain grip strength and improve their movements so that they can feed themselves independently.
  • Seniors with functional limitations might require help from a therapist to take part in activities they love in modified ways.
  • Patients who have suffered spinal cord injuries may require therapeutic intervention to help them avoid behaviors or movements that may worsen their injuries.
  • Corporate professionals may need the help of an occupational therapist to create an optimal work/life balance aimed to eliminate stress and improve their health or improve their work environment based on ergonomic standards.
  • Patients who have experienced a traumatic brain injury or brain injury stroke and lost cognitive function may need an occupational therapist to help them with tasks such as submitting college applications or applying to jobs.

Related: How an Injury Lawyer can Help Your Claim

Schedule a No-Cost Initial Consultation with Our Skilled Decatur Personal Injury Attorneys.

Motor vehicle crashes are the common causes of severe injuries and acute pain what warrants the need for rehabilitation which is costly. Many car accidents occur when negligent drivers disregard Georgia’s traffic laws. Our Decatur personal injury law firm has extensive experience pursuing negligent drivers who leave severely injured people in their wake.

There’s no way to turn back the clock and erase your physical injuries, but our legal team can help you get the financial compensation you need to pay your medical expenses, make up for lost income, compensate you for your emotional distress, and make sure your future financial needs are met. To schedule a no-cost initial consultation, contact an experienced Decatur personal injury lawyer today at (678) 251-9309.