Tag Archives: physical activity

lumbar physical therapy

The Phases of Cervical, Thoracic and Lumbar Physical Therapy

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A great cervical, thoracic and lumbar physical therapy program is very important for patients who have experienced surgery. Rehabilitation will be modified based on body region and type of surgery.

Pre-Operative Phase
Prior to surgery, your physical therapist will perform a comprehensive evaluation to assess your mobility, strength, coordination, and function in order to create a customized home exercise program to perform in preparation for your surgical procedure. This program will be important for you to perform until you have surgery to help improve your recovery after surgery.


Phase 1 Post-Operative (0 – 4 Weeks Post-Op)
During this phase, you will undergo light activities, like walking. During this time, it is imperative that you perform the home exercise program your physical therapist taught you to improve muscle function, and help improve healing. During this time, you may exhibit pain and soreness due to the surgery. This is a normal part of the healing process.

  • Immediately following your surgery, you will be allowed to perform very light, gentle, activities of daily living around your home. However, do not lift more than 10 pounds (a milk jug), and go slowly when bending or twisting.
  • Walking is important to perform consistently as well. Move around your house, ensuring that the area is free of any obstacles which can cause you to fall. Walking around the block should be the limit to what you do in the first 2 weeks. This duration can be increased but should stay under one quarter of a mile for the first 4 weeks.

  • Healing is most important during this phase and post-surgical pain and soreness is normal.

Phase 2 Post-Operative (4 – 6 Weeks Post-Op)
During this phase, you will start physical therapy. Physical therapy during this phase will involve exercises to improve your mobility, strength, and stability. Due to an increase in activity during this time, it is normal to exhibit increased muscle soreness with physical therapy. The soreness will resolve as your muscles get stronger.

  • Formal physical therapy as prescribed by your surgeon will start.
  • Physical therapy will include a comprehensive evaluation to determine the appropriate treatment to improve mobility, strength, stability, and coordination.
  • It is normal to experience muscle soreness during this time with your program. Each person’s body has a different activity threshold that needs to be reached to make physical improvements and muscular soreness is a healthy, safe response to working in this threshold.
  • As your activity threshold level improves, the soreness will resolve.

Phase 3 Post-Operative (7 – 10 Weeks Post-Op)
During this phase, physical therapy will focus on dynamic exercises and activities emphasizing multiple planes of motion. During this time, you can expect more complicated exercises to challenge your coordination and stamina for reaching your goals.

  • During this phase, physical therapy will increase intensity in regards to your appropriate activity threshold.
  • Exercises and activities will become more challenging, more dynamic, and will involve multiple planes of motion to simulate and retrain muscles to complete your daily or recreational activities.
  • Your custom physical therapy program will include specific activities and exercises to prepare you for return to your functional goals.

Information provided by PT and Me physical therapy partner, Rehab Associates of Central Virginia. R.A.C.V. has 13 locations throughout central Virginia. More information about Rehab Associates of Central Virginia can be found on their website at www.racva.com.

Physical Therapy Month 2017 – Managing Pain Safely

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This Physical Therapy Month we want patients to try physical therapy first! Physical therapy is a safe non-invasive form of treatment for patients experiencing musculoskeletal pain or injuries.

PHYSICAL THERAPY is a safe and SMART alternative to opioids.

Great candidates to be referred to physical therapy instead of prescribing pain pills include:

  • A patient that has had pain for more than 90 days
  • A patient that complains of pain disturbing their sleep or daily activities
  • A patient that has a history of substance abuse or has been on pain medication for an extended period of time
  • A patient that expresses an interest in avoiding opioids

Try physical therapy and see the difference!

postoperative physical therapy

Postoperative Physical Therapy

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Postoperative physical therapy after a Total Hip Replacement is essential to your recovery. Your physical therapist will follow your physician’s protocol and will focus on range of motion exercises, progressive strengthening exercises, gait training, balance training, and activity specific training to meet your specific needs. Modalities such as ice and e-stim may be used to help reduce discomfort and swelling. It is very important to complete your home exercise program as directed by your physical therapist and physician.

Swelling and pain can make you move your knee less. Your physical therapist can teach you safe and effective exercises to restore the range of motion to your knee so that you can perform your daily activities.

Weakness of the muscles of the thigh and lower leg is typical after surgery. Your physical therapist can determine the best strengthening exercises for you with the goal of no longer needing a cane or walker to walk.

post op

Specialized training exercises can help your muscles “learn” to adapt to changes in your world such as uneven or rocky ground. When you are able to put your full weight on your knee without pain, your physical therapist may add agility exercises so that you can safely and quickly change directions or make quick stops or starts. They may use a balance board that will challenge your balance and knee control. These exercises will be safe and fun.

Your physical therapist will work with you in retraining your gait following your surgery using appropriate assistive devices such as a walker or cane. They will make sure that you will be able to safely and confidently go up and down stairs, negotiate curbs, and inclines, etc.

Depending on the requirements or your job or the type of recreational activities you enjoy, your physical therapist will tailor your program so that you can meet your specific demands.

This article about postoperative physical therapy was written by STAR Physical Therapy, an outpatient physical therapy group with over sixty locations in Tennessee. Established in 1997 with one clinic and one mission – to serve. Today, they have grown to offer that direct service in more than 60 clinics, and while they’ve grown, one thing that has not changed is their commitment to you, their communities, and their employees. For more information click here.