Therapeutic exercise refers to a range of physical activities that helps restore and build physical strength, endurance, flexibility, balance, and stability. The goal of therapeutic exercise is returning an injured person to a pain-free, fully functioning state. Therapeutic exercise is managed by a trained physical therapist. Therapeutic exercise programs are carefully monitored and emphasize slow progression. The physical therapist will initially assist the patient with some physical movements, if warranted, and will continuously modify the treatment plan according to the patient’s progress.
What differentiates a therapeutic exercise program from other exercise programs? With therapeutic exercise, the physical therapist uses his or her specialized expertise and experience, combined with the latest evidence-based research in rehabilitation, to design an individualized program that includes exercises that are specific to each patient’s injury, ability, and stage of recovery.
The first goal of any therapeutic exercise plan is to reduce pain and inflammation. Next, the goal may shift to regaining range of motion, rebuilding muscle strength, and developing endurance. Therapeutic exercise includes activities to improve physical function and alleviate impairment by improving range of motion, muscle coordination, motor learning, breathing, and posture. An exercise program is specifically designed for the patient and modified accordingly.
Types of Therapeutic Exercises
- Strengthening exercises: To develop strength, the emphasis is on heavy resistance and a limited number of repetitions.
- Endurance exercises: To develop endurance, large muscle groups are engaged for a longer period of time.
- Flexibility exercises: To develop flexibility, stretching and movement are emphasized.
- Balance and coordination exercises: To develop balance and coordination, the emphasis is on center of gravity.
- Postural exercise: To improve posture and correct faulty posture.
- Relaxation exercise: to induce relaxation.
At XCEL A.R.T., Michael will determine the type of exercises that you need to regain the level of activity that you were accustomed to prior to your injury. He will also prescribe exercises that meet your short term as well as long term goals.