Originally published September 8 2008
The Five Best Ways to Succeed With a Physical Rehabilitation Program
by Dr. Samuel Mielcarski
(NaturalNews) Being injured or ill is not usually very fun. As such, the quickest and safest recovery is desired to help one get through these tough times. Health care or healthcare as defined by wikipedia is defined as: "the prevention, treatment, and management of illness and the preservation of mental and physical well being through the services offered by the medical, nursing, and allied health professions. Health care embraces all the goods and services designed to promote health, including preventive, curative and palliative interventions, whether directed to individuals or to populations." The most notable thing about this definition is that it seems to exclude "the individual" as an important part of the health care delivery system. In other words, the individual is passive -- they receive care or it's directed at them.
This fundamental flaw (lack of active participation by an individual) in the modern healthcare system may be why so many people fail to become well, and stay well. Health is not something that can be bought; it must be earned! Health care needs to be self-care as much as possible. With that being said, the following five strategies can help to promote a successful outcome when attending a physical rehabilitation program.
Become educated about the specific condition.
In general, a rehabilitation program should start prior to visiting a rehab clinic. Without understanding a specific condition, knowing if proper care is being rendered will be difficult. Becoming as educated as possible about a specific condition allows a person to better own their condition. This means the individual has committed to taking ownership of the situation and is ready to heal. The individual should also understand how rehabilitation can help the specific condition needing care, including having a general idea of what treatments are available. This will allow one to be better prepared for what to expect prior to entering into a rehabilitation program. Once in a rehab program, continuing the education process is a must.
A rehab program should be goal-oriented.
A person should enter a rehabilitation program with specific goals in mind. These goals should be measurable and realistic. Without specific goals, it's hard to expect specific results. For example, after undergoing a knee surgery or injury: "To become well again," is not a specific goal. Rather, "I will return to exercising 5-7 hours per week without knee pain or instability" is more specific and measurable. When specific goals are set, a customized rehabilitation program is much easier to design and implement.
Visit and even interview several rehab clinics before attending.
Whenever shopping for anything, some due diligence is needed. Health care is no exception. Finding a good rehab clinic (one that is knowledgeable and trustworthy) is important. Avoid letting convenience always be the determining factor. Driving an extra five miles is worth a favorable rehab outcome, especially when considering that this experience may determine future quality of life (walking normal vs. with a limp, for example). Getting a personal referral from a friend or family member about a specific rehab clinic is always a good start. Once at a clinic, meeting (interviewing) the clinic staff as well as the patients and clients at the facility can help further determine compatibility. Always find out how much the rehab program will cost (time, money, and energy) before it's begun. Recovery time can be stressful, so eliminating any financial stress or worries is therefore warranted. Getting something in writing as to patient-specific responsibilities is always a good idea.
Time outside of rehabilitation is important.
This principle may be referred to also as "The 23-1 Rule." This means that if efforts are in alignment with healing for just 1 hour of the day during a rehabilitation program, but not the other 23 hours of the day, results will reflect the greater amount of time spent working against the healing process. In other words, time outside of rehab also counts as rehab time, and it needs to be spent wisely. For example, it will be hard to recover from an injury or illness when also trying to recover from: a lack of sleep, a poor diet, a polluted living environment, stressful relationships, etc. In other words, whether or not a person is injured or ill, it's important to understand that: Health comes from healthful living. True rehabilitation is a way of life, not just a 4-6 week program. Lastly, healing takes time, so be patient (no pun intended).
Proper communication can promote rehab success.
One of the biggest reasons errors occur in many rehab programs is due to poor communication. There is something known as a "Patient's Bill of Rights." This means all people receiving medical care are entitled to ask questions and become well informed prior to receiving any treatment. Rehabilitation needs to be a team effort between the individual and anybody else that may be involved in the rehab process (family, friends, and rehab professionals). When communicating, it's important to always be truthful. For example, if a person lies about whether or not there has been proper follow-through on a rehab program, unnecessary changes may be made to it. This will leave one with a rehab program that provides less than optimal results or no results at all. Proper communication with oneself is just as important. This may be viewed also as one's healing attitude. Without having the right attitude about the rehabilitation process, optimal healing results will be hard to achieve.
When participating in any type of rehabilitation program or receiving any kind of therapeutic intervention(s), one should always consider the following "significant seven" questions:
1. To what extent is this therapy suppressing symptoms, but leaving causes untouched?
2. To what extent is this therapy providing additional symptoms, negative side effects or other problems?
3. To what extent does this therapy empower a person with correct knowledge, a greater capacity for healthful living, improved well-being, and a better quality of life?
4. To what extent does this therapy assist the body's self-healing mechanisms and utilize natural laws of healing to bring about optimal results?
5. To what extent does this therapy promote dependency on someone else, or something else, to feel better?
6. To what extent do the potential benefits of this therapy outweigh the potential risks?
7. To what extent does this therapy impact an individual's resources of time, money, and energy, and who else may benefit from this therapy, financially or in some other way?
Hopefully, this article has provided the reader with a better understanding of how to achieve success when recovering from an injury or illness. In today's world, "health insurance" is not enough. Having "health assurance" is just as important, which can be attained by taking an active role in one's own health and healing.
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About the authorDr. SAM (Samuel Arthur Mielcarski), DPT, is an expert in the field of rehabilitation. He is currently licensed as a physical therapist in Georgia and Florida. He has over 13 years of clinical rehabilitation and health-coaching experience, combined with additional training, education, and practical experience in integrative bodywork, nutrition, natural hygiene, exercise/fitness, mind-body integration, performance enhancement, and personal training. He is the author of the recently released: "Revolutionary Rehab Manual: A Common Sense Approach to Health and Healing." Details can be found at: RevolutionaryRehab.com. He can be contacted via email at [email protected] or through his main website: www.DrSamPT.com.
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