One of the most valuable assets that we can offer our patients is the opportunity to learn what they can do for themselves. Our Functional Rehab program is targeted and directed specifically to your needs and your symptoms. Once we listen to your goals and understand your problem, we create a program that is designed to create space and rebalance injured and degenerated joints. We use very precise movements, stretches and strengthening drills to create healthy habits and low tech treatments that can be done at home – allowing you to truly prevent certain types of chronic injury.
The functional therapists at Bridge Integrative Medicine are dedicated to providing exceptional care utilizing the most progressive treatments for each patient. At Bridge Integrative Medicine, it’s about you. Our functional rehabilitation team is dedicated to formulating a treatment plan designed specifically for you. Our personalized functional rehab programs start with an evaluation of your unique qualities, abilities, and needs, to get to know you as an individual.
The Short Answer: Functional Rehab is the process of retraining the body to move well again.
The Slightly Longer Answer: Functional Rehab is a system of evaluating your movement “functionally”. We want to see how you move in everyday tasks like: walking, bending to pick something up off the floor, putting your socks on, brushing your teeth, reaching into the cabinet, fixing your hair, etc. We don’t need the props, but we do need to know how your body accomplishes these tasks. The brain-body connection is an incredibly complex system, of which we only understand a fraction of its connections. But we know that your brain is wired to accomplish the task that you’ve asked it to do, and it takes that information and despite all the injuries, arthritis, pain and compensations it finds a way to do it. This is great in the short-term and depending on the degree of compensation, not so great in the long-term.
Chronic pain is never normal! Let’s start there. If we start from that understanding then we can agree that chronic pain is a symptom of an underlying problem. Due to your body’s ability to adapt and compensate these underlying problems may have been present for years before any symptoms surface. So we start with the functional exam outlined above where we evaluate your posture, balance, muscle length and muscle strength as they contribute to joint movements and gait analysis. Once we have all the clues from the exam, we begin building your customized rehab plan. This entails spinal warm-ups, balance, trigger point work on your tightest muscles to regain length and activation exercises to “turn on” inactive muscles that serve as protection for your joints when they’re working properly. The final step is to start incorporating those functional movements, ones that incorporate multiple joints, back into your daily routine.
We at Bridge love physical therapists and believe they do a fantastic job in their niche. Traditional physical therapy (PT) specializes in post-surgical rehabilitation and acute pain management of musculoskeletal injury. Thus in a physical therapy clinic, you will often see equipment like Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS), Ultrasound, and Hot/Cold packs to reduce symptoms of acute pain like muscle spasm and inflammation. At Bridge Integrative Medicine our chiropractic department utilizes many of the same tools along with the adjustment you receive to reduce acute pain.
Proper vs. Improper Joint Centration | Click To Enlarge
For the post-surgical patient, the physical therapist’s goals are always to return you to daily activities, but the emphasis is on restoring the proper range of motion of an individual joint and muscle strengthening so that you can perform a task. Functional rehabilitation, on the other hand, puts more of an emphasis on HOW you’re accomplishing the movement. One key concept is that of “joint centration”. The question we ask is, “As the shoulder/knee/lower back move, are certain muscles pulling too hard and others not pulling enough?” This scenario will eventually lead to excessive wear and tear and arthritis and pain.