To achieve optimal results, it’s imperative to incorporate physical therapy rehab within one week of your PRP, stem cell therapy, or lipogems injection. Regenerative Medicine is an effective non-surgical alternative for many patients, but it is most successful when paired with a specialized physical therapy rehab program. The uniqueness of regenerative medicine procedures lies in that the healing process continues after the initial procedure. Our skilled physical therapists are highly trained and in tune with the techniques to optimize the healing process for patients.
Regenerative Rehabilitation is the practice of rehabilitating, often with Physical Therapy, following a regenerative medicine procedure. Our approach is to optimize successful outcomes and improve the functional quality of the tissue treated. At VTFC, we work closely with the physicians at Virginia Spine Institute to customize your rehabilitation plan according to the details of your procedure. Your physician and physical therapist will be in close communication to continuously modify the approach to meet your goals for recovery.
The design of an excellent Regenerative Rehabilitation program includes:
The progression for healing following a regenerative procedure will follow normal tissue healing timelines with specific treatment techniques and exercises designed to stimulate the tissue that is trying to be regenerated. Research has repeatedly shown the combination of manual therapy and therapeutic exercise together is the most effective treatment for musculoskeletal injuries. Patients will progress through a continuum of manual therapy and targeted exercises specific to the physiological properties of the treated tissue. Their regenerative rehabilitation will begin with more manual therapy based on foundational exercises and progress to less manual therapy and higher-level functional exercises that relate to the activities and sport the patient wishes to participate in.
Rehabilitation after a regenerative medicine procedure is important to ensure the structures treated heal optimally. The human body responds to the stresses and loads placed on the structures that have been treated by laying down a scaffolding of connective tissue. In this case, if the scaffolding is not stressed then the tissue heals in an unorganized way that is suboptimal and could fail again. With proper load and stress, from a tailored exercise program, the stresses on the treated structures will be optimal to cause an optimal stimulus for regeneration of the treated tissue.
The regenerated tissue could heal, but heal poorly and with weaker cellular links that could lead to future failure when loaded. Proper Regenerative Rehabilitation takes the steps to ensure your tissue has the best chance to be successful following a Regenerative Procedure. When you invest so much in your recovery…why leave it up to chance?
The course of rehab will be dependent on the anatomy and structures treated. Most patients go to physical therapy 2-3x/week for 6-10 weeks. Patients should be provided guidance for activity modifications initially following the procedure and progress back to their functional goals. Any PT program should include home exercises for the patient to work on outside the clinic.
Your first visit will be a comprehensive evaluation. A comprehensive evaluation includes a detailed patient injury history, a thorough biomechanical examination of the injured area and additional anatomical areas that may influence the injured area, a proper explanation of the evaluation findings, and a discussion regarding the patient’s treatment plan and expectations of their regenerative rehabilitation.
Modalities are often used to help with pain modulation/reduction and managing inflammation. In the case of regenerative medicine the use of modalities will be limited due to the need for the inflammatory process to be active and present following a regenerative medicine treatment. Treatment techniques can be used to reduce pain and improve function. The use of medications and modalities in this case will be minimal.
Most regenerative medicine procedures cause an increase in the inflammatory process. This is good because the human body uses inflammation as the trigger signal to initiate a healing response. Therefore, an initial stage of new inflammation is common with regenerative medicine procedures. As a result, you will want to let the inflammatory process settle a little after the procedure, but get started as soon as you can. Typically, regenerative rehabilitation starts one to two weeks after a regenerative procedure.
Oftentimes patients will have new inflammation, as a result of the regenerative medicine procedure. With new inflammation comes some discomfort. This is actually a good thing (see above) for your body to jump-start the healing process. Post-procedure pain and soreness usually dissipates over several days and can last as long as two weeks.
Prehab for any procedure or surgery is recommended. The stronger and better you come into a procedure or surgery the better chance of having a successful outcome following a procedure or surgery. In addition, your physical therapist can provide you with information and tips to help you with your regenerative rehabilitation in the first 1-2 weeks after your procedure, before you officially start your regenerative rehabilitation.