After a severe injury or surgery, you might be tempted to take it easy for the long haul. But physical therapy is often the only way to regain full function of the injured area and restore strength and flexibility. Through various exercises and drills, physical therapy also helps prevent re-injury of the affected area, an aspect of rehabilitation many people overlook.
Different injuries require different strategies for rehabilitation, and our physical therapists at Bella Vista Health Center tailor their efforts to each patient, targeting specific areas of weakness to relieve stress and help the body function without pain. Many of our rehabilitation programs incorporate one or more of the following top physical therapy exercises after an injury:
1. Resistance band exercises
Resistance bands allow patients to gradually increase the stress on their muscles as they regain more strength. And because resistance is maintained through every part of the exercise, the result is more complete stimulation and better range of motion.
Examples of effective resistance band exercises include:
- Knee extensions to increase strength in patients recovering from a knee injury
- One-hand internal rotations to strengthen injured rotator cuff muscles and reduce shoulder pain
2. Therapy ball exercises
Therapy balls are great for improving strength and balance for anyone, but therapy ball exercises are particularly effective for physical therapy patients because they reduce muscle and spinal strain during certain movements.
Examples of effective therapy ball exercises include:
- Pelvic isolation for patients recovering from back injuries
- One-legged hamstring curls strengthen muscles around the knee and reduce strain on an injured ACL
3. Balance and wobble board exercises
A balance or wobble board is a basic piece of equipment involving a ball projecting from the base of a round board. Wobble boards enhance range of motion and strength, improving overall balance and flexibility.
Examples of effective wobble board exercises include:
- Controlled tilts for patients recovering from ankle injuries
- Balance training to help prevent shoulder joint dislocations, ankle sprains and re-injury of ACL
4. Foam roller exercises
Long cylinders made of foam are frequently used to stretch a patient’s fascia, a layer of connective tissue beneath the skin that envelops the entire body. Stretching the fascia aids in flexibility and range of motion. Foam rollers can also be used in exercises specifically aimed at improving balance and strengthening a patient’s core.
Examples of effective foam roller exercises include:
- Slowly rolling the foam over a target area to massage tight, injured muscles and break down scar tissue
- Rolling the foam either parallel or perpendicular to the spine to increase mobility and reduce stiffness for patients recovering from an injured back
Plyometrics are strengthening exercises that incorporate jumping, bounding, and hopping movements to increase muscle power, strength, balance, and agility. Plyometrics are especially crucial for sports-related injuries.
Effective low-intensity plyometric exercises include:
- Lateral hops over short cones, lunges, and multiple-hoop jumps for patients recovering from ACL injuries
- Standing two-arm overhead throw of medicine ball for rehabilitation of injured rotator cuff
Biofeedback is used to train patients to improve muscle strength by applying electrodes to the skin that read signals from the body. When biofeedback is used in a physical therapy setting, it gives patients an immediate sense of control and increases interest and motivation, which in turn produces better functional outcomes.
Biofeedback can be used in physical therapy to:
- Help stroke patients regain movement of paralyzed or weakened muscles
- Strengthen weak pelvic floor muscles in patients recovering from pelvic injuries
Pilates is much more than the latest gym trend—it’s a comprehensive exercise system that uses isolated muscle movement to boost strength, control core muscles, improve spinal mobility, increase postural strength, and correct muscular alignment.
Pilates can be used in physical therapy to:
- Improve posture and reprogram muscles for patients with repetitive strain injury (RSI)
- Restore function following a stroke, or in patients with Parkinson’s or MS
Get back to your best at Bella Vista Health Center
At Bella Vista Health Center, we understand that all physical therapy patients respond to exercises at different rates of improvement. That’s why our Physical Therapy Department customizes treatments to meet each patient’s unique needs. Our evidence-based, outcome-driven therapy programs strive to get our patients back to their best. If you or someone you love, is in need of physical therapy in San Diego, contact us today for more information.