General therapy/rehabilitation is a combination of physical, occupational and speech therapy aimed at helping patients maintain or recover physical capabilities after a serious injury or illness. Keck Medicine of USC offers these therapies on an inpatient and outpatient basis.

Physical Therapy (PT) – Physical therapy uses exercises and physical activities to help condition muscles and restore strength and movement.
Occupational Therapy (OT) – Occupational therapy is skilled treatment that helps people develop the real-life skills for the “job of living” and achieve as much independence as possible.
Speech Therapy/Pathology – Speech therapy is the treatment of physical and/or cognitive deficits/disorders that result in difficulty with verbal communication.

The goal of therapy and rehabilitation is to help patients regain and/or maintain maximum self-sufficiency so they can function as normally as possible in their daily lives.

Who benefits from General Therapy/Rehabilitation?

Some of the health conditions that benefit from general therapy and rehabilitation services are:

  • Amputation
  • Stroke
  • Deconditioning (a decline in physical fitness) that results from prolonged bed rest
  • Musculoskeletal pain
  • Loss of joint mobility due to disease, injury or disuse
  • Muscle weakness
  • Acute injury
  • Balance problems
  • Surgery that impairs movement (therapy can be used to restore arm and shoulder movement and build back strength after breast cancer surgery, for example)

Comprehensive Diagnostic & Treatment Resources
At Keck Medicine of USC, therapy begins with a thorough evaluation to diagnose the specific problem and develop a treatment plan, complete with short- and long-term goals that you help to establish. Your treatment plan draws on the comprehensive range of treatment resources and approaches we have available, all designed to help restore strength and movement, reduce or eliminate pain, and get you back to your regular activities.

Physical Therapy may include:

  • Therapeutic exercise tailored to your specific needs and goals
  • Pain management including TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) and ultrasound
  • Casting for orthotics (orthopedic appliances aimed at improving posture, function or mobility, such as braces, splints or molded shoe inserts)

Occupational Therapy may include:

  • Customized treatment programs to improve your ability to perform daily activities at home, work or school
  • Comprehensive home and job-site evaluations with recommendations on ways to adapt the environment for optimal functioning
  • Performance skills assessments and treatment
  • Adaptive equipment recommendations and training on how to use it
  • Guidance to family members and caregivers

Speech Therapy may include:

  • Diagnosis of underlying physical, physiological or emotional dysfunction impairing communication skills
  • Training in breathing, use of the voice and/or speaking habits
  • Assessment and treatment of swallowing disorders (dysphagia)

For conditions that require more specialized expertise, we have a team of certified specialists in orthopedics, hand therapy, cardiopulmonary rehabilitation, wound care, swallowing and voice disorders, lymphedema and sports-related injuries.

Common Terms Used in Therapy/Rehabilitation

Activities of Daily Living (ADL) – Activities that are considered a part of normal, everyday life, such as dressing, bathing, toileting and eating
Adaptive equipment – Devices that help people with a physical impairment to write, read, move, speak, hear, and otherwise conduct normal activities
Deconditioning – The loss of physical strength or stamina resulting from bed rest or lack of exercise.
Dysphagia – Difficulty in swallowing
Functional – Generally, functional refers to something able to fulfill its purpose or function. In rehabilitation, functional exercise refers to exercise that helps a patient resume his or her regular activities or functions
Mobility – The ability of a person to move around and change position

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How long will it take for me to get back to “normal?”
A: There simply is no single, simple answer to this question because each person is unique and there are so many variables that can affect the length of time it takes to recover from an injury or illness. Each of our therapists will work closely with you to establish realistic expectations, timeframes and goals, and communicate openly and honestly about your progress and prognosis.

Q: What if I need more specialized therapy?
A: This is a real advantage to undergoing rehabilitation at Keck Medicine of USC. As an academic medical institution and tertiary care center, we treat some of the most complex cases in the Los Angeles area, which, in turn, gives you access to a depth, and breadth of specialty clinical expertise seldom found in a community hospital setting. If you need more specialized therapy, we have certified specialists in orthopedics, hand therapy, cardiopulmonary rehabilitation, wound care, swallowing and voice disorders, lymphedema management and sports-related injuries right here, ready to bring their multidisciplinary skills and expertise to your plan of care.