Functional rehabilitation is an extension of the traditional elements of injury management focused on activities of daily living, sport and recreation activities, and demands of employment.
Humans are born with certain "operating systems" that function outside our conscience awareness. The ability of the heart to beat, the digestive system to process food into useable fuel and the respiratory system to oxygenate our tissues are examples of human "operating systems" at work. Our ability to move as humans is developed from such basic programs. An infant does not need to be taught how to lift its head, grasp a toy, roll over or crawl. All these movements patterns occur automatically in a specific sequence and form the basis for all of the more complex human movements related to gait, level changes (squatting, lunging and climbing), pushing, pulling and rotating. Basic trunk or core stabilization is a function of this preprogrammed, automatic movement "operating system", and is a prerequisite for all movements in all postures.
The normal function of this preprogrammed stabilizing system can become disrupted through injury, repetitive motion, sustained postures that stress muscles, ligaments and joints and also by emotional and psychological stresses. Ultimately, if the function of the movement system becomes sufficiently disrupted, the sensation of pain will arise. Pain is an indication that the brain perceives an area of the body is under sufficient threat or potential for damage that action is required to cease the perceived offending activity. Pain has been shown to alter the normal function of the movement system programs, precipitating alterations in fundamental movements.
Functional rehabilitation has been described as an extension of the traditional elements of injury management with the purpose to return the patient to highly complex movement patterns related to activities of daily living (ADLs), sport and recreation activities (SRA) and demands of employment (DE). While managing pain and inflammation and restoring flexibility and strength in the local area of injury or insult is important in the rehabilitation process, functional rehabilitation recognizes that after injury adaptations occur in the movement system. These adaptations may exist long after symptomatic recovery from injury resulting in functional deficits that may be missed on a standard physical assessment.
Our approach is to assess alignment and balance and fundamental movements in order to identify the presence of alterations in the function of the movement system. Individualized strategies are then developed for reactivating the core stability system and restoring functional mobility and stability throughout the body.