Sentara Martha Jefferson Monday: What is Functional Training?

A Sentara Sports Medicine Center patient working with a trainer A Sentara Sports Medicine Center patient working with a trainer

The focus of this week's Sentara Martha Jefferson Monday is on functional training which is a step that comes after physical therapy to help athletes and laborers get back to doing what they do best.

After an orthopedic surgery, physical therapy is typically a standard part of the recovery process.  Now the Sentara Sports Medicine Center is helping patients take things a step further with additional functional training, when appropriate. 

“It depends on what your goal is after surgery, or what your sport is,” noted Dr. Matthew Panzarella, a physician at the Sentara Sports Medicine Center. “Someone who's a higher level athlete either from high school, or even the semi professional teams in the area, they may want that additional training so they can get back either quick or stronger.” 

This level of training isn’t just for athletes. 

“You some people whose jobs requires a lot of work. Consider someone who climbs trees for a living.  If they have shoulder surgery, they are going to really need a lot of extra upper body strength to get back to what they need to do.” noted Dr. Panzarella. 

The program has been developed in tandem with ACAC.  With the gym being located next door to the Sentara Sports Medicine Center, it easily allows doctors to connect their patients with trainers who then work to meet each patient’s individual recovery needs. 

“I have a conversation with all my patients about what their goals are, what their hobbies are, what their activities are and what sports they play.  From there, I figure out what their desired level is for return to work or play and then we discuss whether therapy is enough, or if they need that higher level of strengthening and functional training to get them back to their sport,” said Dr. Panzarella. 

In the end, patients benefit from the additional expertise and time they spend getting back into action. 

“It’s a real plus to our patients because it allows them to bring their rehab to another level.  They get to work with a high-level strength and conditioning coach to really functionally bring their game right back up there,” said Dr. Panzarella. 

For more information on this topic or the Sentara Sports Center, please call 1-800-SENTARA. If you have a question about your health you’d like us to answer, please email healthquestions@nbc29.com.

Sentara Martha Jefferson Monday

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