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What the Research Says

Treatments developed from evidence-based research have changed the way healthcare professionals approach the healing process.

Gone are the days of prescribed bed rest and weeks off work after surgery or an injury. Today, patients are encouraged to start rehabilitation therapy as soon as possible, because research suggests it’s safe and leads to a speedier, better recovery.

Treatments have also changed. For example, while technologies such as electrical stimulation, ultrasound, or iontophoresis are still used in pain management, today’s therapists prefer manual therapy to get to the source of pain and correct the issue. Current research has shown that manual therapy, when combined with therapeutic exercise, provides a beneficial outcome for patients.

Research has also altered the exclusive use of assistive devices, because it’s now understood that keeping an injured area from moving actually increases muscle weakness. In addition, research has led therapists to focus on returning patients to regular activities by helping them learn to use their joints better, rather than on range of motion alone.

Learn what current research says about rehabilitation therapy.

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Physical Therapy versus Glucocorticoid Injection for Osteoarthritis of the Knee  (The New England Journal of Medicine: April 9, 2020, abstract)

Research compares the treatment options for osteoarthritis of the knee, which has been treated successfully with both physical therapy and intraarticular injections of
glucocorticoids. Researchers sought to determine whether the short-term and long-term effectiveness for relieving pain and improving physical function differ between these two therapies. They concluded that patients with osteoarthritis of the knee who underwent physical therapy had less pain and functional disability at one year than patients who received an intraarticular glucocorticoid injection.