What is Functional Rehabilitation and how does it differ from traditionally practiced physical therapy? Functional medicine is a philosophical shift from treating the area of pain to treating the area of dysfunction. In other words, instead of treating what hurts, we treat what’s causing the hurt! The treatment is performed using positions and activities that closely resemble the activities that we wish to perform.
To use a very common scenario as an example, let’s focus on back pain. Many of us experience back pain over the course of our lives and there are many different ways to go about treating it. Often the source of back pain lies in problems occurring in the ankles, hips, or upper back. By performing tests which require the entire body to turn, bend, and rotate throughout space, we can assess where the movement is and isn’t occurring. After a thorough assessment, we can prescribe a functional exercise program designed to address all the limitations and thus decrease pain and improve function. The exercises prescribed will look very similar to activities which you desire to return to. For instance, if you wish to return to golfing, your stretches will look a lot like the backswing and follow-through. Your strengthening exercises will be performed in an upright position and require rotating in a pain-free manner.
This same approach will be used for all areas in the body. The results are long-term and we begin to see the transformation very quickly.
In his office, Dr. Underwood utilizes a test, treat, and retest approach, ensuring his patients receive the highest standard of care possible. During the corrective phase, Dr. Underwood requires his patients to have two treatments a week for two to four weeks. After this, a patient will then be treated weekly for two to four weeks. After the initial visit, each treatment session will be 15-25 minutes, longer if needed.