Whether you’ve just had surgery or you’ve sustained a sports injury, physical therapy and rehabilitation are likely on your radar. Receiving compassionate and expert rehabilitation plays a big role in your recovery journey and can even help you prevent future injuries. That’s why Barry Hughes, DC and our team here at Premier Chiropractic in Pearland, Texas, offer comprehensive rehabilitation and physical therapy.
Depending on your specific needs, you may need both passive and active therapy. Active therapy refers to therapies you perform yourself. If you’ve never received physical therapy before, you might wonder how you should prepare for active therapy.
Here’s what you need to know.
What is Active Therapy?
Physical therapy includes many different modalities, and they can be categorized as passive or as active therapies. Passive therapies — therapies performed by Dr. Hughes — are therapies that are done to you. This includes:
- Cold therapy i.e., ice packs or cold compresses
- Massage therapy
- Soft tissue rehab
- Electrical stimulation
Preparing for passive therapy is relatively simple, since you usually lay down to receive the treatment.
On the other hand, you perform active therapies. Dr. Hughes and our team may teach you how to perform a particular active therapy, but you’re responsible for completing the activity. Active therapies include:
- Cardiovascular exercise
- Strength training
Active therapy can help you if you’re recovering from an injury or dealing with chronic conditions. Studies show that people with back pain who engaged in active therapy (and adhered to the at-home exercises) reported a reduction in back pain and improved functionality.
When it comes to passive and active therapy, it’s not an “either-or” decision. You likely will benefit from both types of therapy throughout your rehabilitation journey. Depending on your symptoms, level of pain, and condition, you may start with passive therapy before moving on to active therapy. Even once you’ve started incorporating active therapy into your plan, you can expect to graduate to more intense or challenging active therapies as you progress.
What to Expect From Active Therapy
As the name suggests, active therapy requires active participation on your part. To make the most out of your physical therapy session, our team here at Premier Chiropractic recommends that you wear athletic clothing that is comfortable and allows for a wide range of motion. Be sure to bring a water bottle and a towel.
Here’s what you can expect from your active therapy session.
Each active therapy session always starts with a warm-up to gently rev up your cardiovascular system and increase blood flow to your muscles. Although all sessions start with a warm-up, the actual warm-up itself can vary. Examples of warm-up activities include cardiovascular exercise and stretching. Passive rehabilitation treatments, such as electrical stimulation, can also be included into your warm-up.
Our team determines your specific set of exercises based on your goals, your condition, and your current symptoms. Regardless of what specific active therapies you perform, the goals of active therapy are twofold:
- Restore the normal function and range of motion of your joints or muscles without pain
- Strengthen your muscles to prevent future injury
Because active therapies include exercise, you can expect to exert yourself. You might even get a little sweaty 一 and that’s okay! We can also teach you specific stretches to combat any tight or sore muscles.
As with any type of exercise, it’s essential to cool down afterward. Cooldown stretches bring your heart rate back to normal, prevent muscle soreness, and give you a moment to decompress. You can also expect to perform these same stretches and exercises at home as “homework.” Our team provides you with the specific regimen that benefits you the most.
Active Therapy Isn’t a Standalone Solution
There’s no doubt that active therapy plays a key role in restoring your range of motion and alleviating pain, but it’s also important to remember that active therapy is just one part of rehabilitation. Active therapy, along with passive therapy and patient education, is often the best path forward for addressing musculoskeletal injuries.
No two physical therapy and rehabilitation plans are the same. Our team carefully outlines your treatment plan based on your goals. To get started with rehab care in our Pearland, Texas, office, call us at 281-223-1172 or request an appointment via our online portal.