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Physical therapy for general deconditioning

What is general deconditioning?

General deconditioning occurs when a lack of physical activity causes rapid deterioration of the muscles, bones, and even sometimes the mind. It’s especially likely to occur in patients who are confined to bed rest, whether due to old age, a severe injury, or a debilitating illness.

While general deconditioning can be reversed with exercise, some patients can become so deconditioned that even walking or going about basic daily activities becomes an insurmountable challenge. For that reason, most deconditioned patients need to work with licensed physical therapists to safely restore muscle tone and bodily functions.

Source: SRA Lab

General deconditioning symptoms

General deconditioning isn’t just a matter of losing muscle strength; it can affect nearly every bodily system. That’s because internal organs weaken along with the rest of the body, meaning that patients may experience symptoms in the lungs, heart, digestive system, urinary system, endocrine system, and more.

For example, weakness in the lungs can lead to lung collapse, difficulty breathing, or pneumonia. The heart’s inability to pump blood effectively can cause low blood pressure, which may make the patient more vulnerable to blood clots. Weakness in the urinary system and digestive tract can cause incontinence and constipation. In combination, these problems can negatively impact a patient’s quality of life and lower their ability to perform daily activities, which can contribute to feelings of depression and disorientation.

The most common symptoms of general deconditioning include:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Digestive difficulties
  • Pulmonary conditions
  • Depression and disorientation

Source: SRA Lab

What causes general deconditioning?

General deconditioning is almost always a result of physical inactivity, most likely due to prolonged bed rest. For this reason, the elderly are particularly vulnerable, as are patients who have experienced a serious injury or debilitating illness.

In addition, patients who are unable to leave bed due to medications or psychological illnesses may experience deconditioning, as well. Deconditioning can be difficult to reverse once it begins, as the solution — exercise — becomes increasingly hard to perform as the condition progresses.

The most common causes of general deconditioning include:

  • Old age
  • Debilitating illness
  • Serious injury
  • Psychological conditions

Source: Vidant Health

Physical therapy for general deconditioning

Most patients with general deconditioning need the help of a physical therapist to return strength safely, effectively, and permanently, as attempting to address the condition without the input and supervision of a professional can result in injury and may be unsafe.

Typically, a physical therapist will begin with an examination to determine the patient’s individual condition and needs. From there, the PT can develop a personalized treatment plan to gently restore flexibility and muscle strength, eventually returning the patient to full activity.

Source: MoveForwardPT

Luna — physical therapy at your home for general deconditioning

Luna PTs specialize in treating patients suffering from general deconditioning. With expert knowledge and a sympathetic bedside manner, our PTs will help you restore muscle strength, regain flexibility, and get back on your feet.

The best part? Luna’s physical therapists treat patients in the comfort of their own homes. It’s physical therapy, delivered.

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