Rehabilitation is the act of re-learning specific movements and actions. Physical therapy is the process of strengthening an injured area of the body in an attempt to elicit a healing response to allow the person to return to their prior level of activity. A good example of this is when a person experiences a stroke or severe injury that causes them to lose the memory of how to perform a certain task. Rehabilitation involves relearning the process or motion involved in performing the task and then teaching the muscles how to respond. Muscles have memory and can relearn certain tasks extremely fast. The goal of rehabilitation is to not only teach the movement but to improve strength and flexibility so that it can be performed correctly.
Rehabilitation involves many different types of activities. It involves relearning fine motor skills, such as holding a pencil and learning to write his or her name or using a fork and spoon to feed themselves. Rehabilitation also involves the use of gross motor skills, like walking, standing, or picking up a large object. If a person's injuries are extensive, they may have to relearn several different activities at once. As soon as a person has completed their rehabilitation program, they will move on to physical therapy where the movements they have learned will be used to strengthen the body and continue the healing process.
The length of a person's rehabilitation process will be determined by the extent of their injuries. People who have had strokes or are recovering from paralysis may take longer to relearn certain movements than someone who is recovering from an injury. The rehabilitation process involves relearning specific activities. When the movements have been sufficiently mastered, physical therapy will begin. Physical therapy may take longer than rehabilitation depending on how much muscle mass was lost during the rehabilitation process.
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