We now live in a culture that in some respects is quickly moving toward a society of wellness. After an illness or an injury, patients are regularly prescribed physical therapy by their doctors. Hospitals are not just offering the in-hospital therapy room, but have widened the possibilities of successful recovery by opening whole exercise facilities and gyms, and enlisting the help of professional personal trainers.
Julie K. Silver, M.D., Assistant Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School and author of Super Healing (Rodale Pub. 2007), recommends that everyone traveling through the Healing Zone — the period of time after an injury or illness when additional healing can still occur — add a strengthening regimen with the aid of a physical therapist, a personal trainer, or by simply slowly returning to an exercise routine used before the illness or injury.
Within Super Healing's chapter, "Exercise To Build Strength and Endurance," Dr. Silver identifies a study published in the Journal of Gerontology (2005) regarding the significance of exercise. The preliminary study revealed that exercise promotes wound healing. In addition, daily exercise reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, and obesity. Dr. Silver also states that generally, chronic diseases such as arthritis, osteoporosis, and fibromyalgia will show improvement with regular and appropriate exercise.
The therapeutic exercise program used in a rehabilitation center will utilize a prescription from the doctor for physical and occupational therapy. It will include cardiovascular, strengthening, flexibility, coordination/balance training, and sport-specific exercises.
The U.S. Department of Labor states that a physical therapist is a graduate of an accredited educational program and must be licensed, the majority working in hospitals or private offices. Their patients, typically accident victims or those with disabling conditions, receive a thorough medical history examination and physical testing before beginning a program.
Dr. Silver recommends patients discuss with their doctors when to move from a physical therapist to a physical trainer, depending upon each person's recovery situation.