We may not realize it, but extended stays in an ICU can cause some unique health problems. Lying motionless for too long may cause stiffness in your muscles, joints, and bones. After a stay in an ICU stay, some patients find it difficult to return to their regular physical activities. They may experience weakness, muscle stiffness, and poor muscle coordination, to name a few. This is why you should visit a physical therapy clinic after staying in intensive care.
Possible Complications of Intensive Care
While the ICU is a vital place where patients get much-needed care at the most needed time, it causes some musculoskeletal side effects that should be addressed afterward. The necessity for rehabilitation for patients undergoing intensive care has only been recognized recently. There are a variety of complications that occur as a result of a stay in intensive care. The Society of Critical Care Medicine labeled difficulties after the ICU as post-intensive care syndrome or PICS. Some of the symptoms of PICS are:
- 25 to 80% of patients on mechanical ventilation support experience ICU-induced weakness
- 50 to 75% of patients with sepsis experience ICU-induced weakness
- Chronic body pain
- ICU-induced myopathy
Benefits of Early Therapy After Intensive Care
Studies show that early rehabilitative intervention, even while in the ICU, is feasible, safe, and beneficial. Multiple studies have provided evidence on the benefits of early therapy post-ICU. Among the benefits of this practice are:
- Reduced future trips to the hospital
- Decreased long-term financial strain
- Reduced length of stay in the ICU and hospital
- Improved physical strength
- Quickened return to basic physical functionality
- Decreased chances of depression, anxiety, and other psychological effects of lengthy ICU stays
- Improved chances of returning to normal activities faster
You gain the most benefits if you engage in rehabilitation therapy within 48 hours of being admitted to the ICU, but this isn’t always possible. You may choose not to undergo therapy while still in the ICU for various reasons. If this applies to you, simply seek physical therapy after leaving the ICU.
Visiting the Physical Therapy Clinic After Intensive Care
There are different types of physical therapy, depending on the specific needs of the patient. Specifically, for post-ICU patients, the type of therapy needed will depend on various factors, such as your condition, the length of your ICU stay, your overall health, the specific musculoskeletal issues you are experiencing, and more.
After you undergo intensive care, the goal of physical therapy is to ensure that you can return to full physical functionality as soon as possible. It also helps with pain reduction. As such, depending on what you need, your therapy program may include:
These exercises aim to strengthen your body with motions designed to mimic activities performed at home. Unlike what most people know as exercise, functional exercises utilize the entire body rather than targeted body parts.
Training on Post-Op Equipment
If you have difficulty walking, you might begin physical therapy while using an assistive device like a CPM machine or braces.
Physical therapy isn’t necessarily limited to exercises — your therapist might recommend other equipment to make your life easier, such as insoles.
The physical therapy techniques that your therapist will use may vary, and a treatment program will be designed specifically for you.
Physical Therapy Clinics in Austin, Texas
Going to the ICU for any reason is tough – physically, psychologically, and financially. Post-ICU effects on your overall well-being can also be a difficult challenge. Physical therapy can help address your concerns, especially when you undergo therapy during and immediately after intensive care.
At Endeavor Physical Therapy and Wellness Center, we provide outpatient physical therapy and hand therapy. We cover a wide range of services for your overall physical wellness and recovery. Our approach is holistic and multidisciplinary to ensure that you get the effective treatment you need. We treat each patient with an individually customized therapy program designed specifically for you. We also have convenient locations serving Austin, Round Rock, Manor, Pflugerville, Cedar Park, Bee Caves, and Hutto.
Take back full control of your life, and contact us today at (512) 284-7192 or request an appointment online.