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Find your road to recovery.

Rehabilitation is an important part of the healing process. The Outpatient Rehabilitation Center at Palmetto General Hospital includes a rehabilitation team consisting of licensed physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech language pathologist and manual lymph drainage therapists.

Therapists dedicated to meeting your specific needs.

Physical therapists work with patients who are experiencing difficulty functioning because of an injury, disease, surgery or congenital problems. They use some of the latest techniques and equipment to provide patients with services such as:

  • Evaluation and treatment of physical dysfunctions
  • Wound care treatments
  • Strength and flexibility training
  • Balance/coordination training
  • Pain management
  • Modalities such as ultrasound, electrical stimulation and mechanical traction
  • Evaluation and training for work performance skills

Physical therapists treat patients recovering from:

  • Strokes
  • Head injuries
  • Amputation
  • Cancer
  • Arthritis
  • Neuromuscular disorders
  • Orthopedic/sport injuries of the lower extremities
  • Burns/open wounds
  • Total joint replacements
  • Back injuries/surgeries
  • Neck injuries/surgeries
  • Lymphedema

Occupational therapists work with people who, because of physical developmental, social or emotional problems, need specialized assistance and training to lead independent and productive lives. They use some of the latest techniques and equipment which include:

  • Hand therapy and splinting
  • Adaptive of daily living training (self-care, work and leisure tasks)
  • Customized treatment/training programs
  • Instructing caregivers in methods of caring for individuals
  • Modalities such as ultrasound, electrical stimulation and paraffin
  • Evaluation and training for work performance skills

Occupational therapist and assistants treat patients recovering from:

  • Stroke
  • Head injuries
  • Cancer
  • Heart attack
  • Developmental disabilities
  • Arthritis
  • Neuromuscular disorder
  • Cumulative trauma disorders (Carpal Tunnel Syndrome)
  • Ortopedic/sport injuries of the arm/hands
  • Burns/open wounds
  • Amputations
  • Total joint replacements
  • Lymphedema

Speech/language pathologists focus on effective communication and swallowing skills for patients. Speech/language pathologists provide patients with:

  • Swallow studies
  • Speech/language evaluations and treatment
  • Voice training
  • Cognitive retraining
  • Vital Stim Therapy

Physical Therapy Services

The Importance of Physical & Occupational Therapy after Joint Replacement

Physical / Occupational therapy plays an important role in helping patients return to everyday activities following joint surgery to replace hips, knees, shoulders, fingers or ankles. Making a full recovery takes a considerable amount of time and significant effort on the part of the patient, but is often possible with the help of a physical therapist.

Therapy following joint replacement surgery usually begins with a thorough assessment of your condition and the development of a treatment plan. During a quick screening, the physical therapist will check your heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, skin integrity, and range of motion and functional strength of other areas of the body. An evaluation of your overall ability to move may be done and you may be asked to complete a questionnaire to describe problems you could encounter with day-to-day activities, such as getting dressed. Finally, the therapist will make a recommendation of how many visits and for how long you will need physical therapy.

Your physical therapist will recommend certain exercises as part of your rehabilitation program. Exercise can help improve flexibility, decrease swelling, increase strength, enhance endurance, improve balance and coordination, and lessen difficulties in performing daily activities. The type and intensity of exercises you do will take into account the surgery that was performed, type of replacement joint and condition of the joint before surgery.

If you had a shoulder replacement, for example, your occupational therapy program would typically begin with isometric strengthening exercises. This would focus on muscles that lift and push the arm forward and backward, raise the arm, and turn the shoulder. As your therapy progresses, elastic bands would be introduced to further strengthen shoulder muscles. Approximately 12 weeks after surgery light weights can be used, beginning with one-pound weights and gradually progressing up to five-pound weights. Aquatic exercises also may be included in your physical therapy program.

As you go through therapy it is important not to overdo the exercises. If you notice any swelling, you may be doing too much, too fast. A small amount of muscle discomfort during therapy is to be expected, but if you experience pain, you may be irritating or straining the joint too much. Check with your therapist if you experience any problems with your exercises.

Physical therapy may feel uncomfortable at first, but exercises will help speed your recovery and reduce pain after surgery. If you had a total hip replacement, you will be asked to begin walking to increase circulation in your legs and feet, and to prevent blood clots. It may take months to make a full recovery. During that time your physical therapist will work with you to build endurance so your muscles will work effectively for longer periods of time. You also may be asked to start weight-bearing and postural exercises, as well as balance and coordination exercises.

Your physical therapist will recommend more advanced exercises as your condition continues to improve. During follow-up visits your therapist can make sure you are performing the exercises routinely and safely. Eventually you will be released to full activity, but keep in touch with your therapist to ensure that you achieve your optimal range of motion and make a complete recovery.

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