What Are Orthopedic Rehabilitation Centers?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 21 February 2020
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Orthopedic rehabilitation centers provide care to patients with injuries in the skeleton, muscles, or supporting soft tissue. This can include people who have received surgery to treat specific conditions as well as patients who are trying to avoid surgery with more conservative treatments. Patients may be referred to a clinic for care by a medical provider who feels they would benefit from specialized therapy and can also elect for treatment on their own as part of a management plan. Some facilities offer specialty services like sports medicine and pediatrics to ensure the needs of their clients will be met appropriately.

Inpatient and outpatient treatment are available at orthopedic rehabilitation centers. Some people may need to be hospitalized for the first stage of rehabilitation because they have serious injuries or complications that make it hard to receive care at home. For example, a person with a spinal injury may not be able to safely live at home until a neurologist provides clearance, indicating that the spine is stable. People receiving inpatient services may have several hours of treatment a day, including physical therapy, massage, sessions in hot pools or steam rooms, and other measures to promote recovery.


Patients can also visit on an outpatient status for specific sessions with physical therapists, bodyworkers, and technicians who provide various services in orthopedic rehabilitation centers. These services can vary by institution but may include activities like teaching people to walk after serious leg injuries, helping people learn to use wheelchairs, and helping athletes regain their usual level of function. Injury prevention can also be important, showing people how to use their bodies safely in a variety of environments to reduce the risk that they will re-injure themselves.

Recovery from serious injuries may require a mixed medical team. Patients who work with orthopedic rehabilitation centers may also need to see neurologists, speech-language pathologists, and other specialists, depending on the nature of their injuries. Months or years of sessions may be required to recover, build up strength, and prevent re-injury. Chronic conditions can require regular visits to prevent contractures and retain muscle stability to help patients stay active and independent.

The services offered at orthopedic rehabilitation centers can vary. Patients may find it helpful to review brochures and websites for specific information about what kinds of treatments are available. If they have referrals to specific facilities, they may not be required to use them, but it may be easier to use the recommended facility. It is possible to look up ratings, complaints, and other performance measures to learn more about a facility’s offerings and reputation.



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