Rehabilitation is in any case a concept which is fundamentally flawed, for it involves denying the effects of impairment in order to return to "normal life". The fact that the regime is based on exercise is related to the fact that disabled people are regarded as being lazy and unwilling to take the physical steps necessary to get "better", and therefore need to have the control of their bodies taken over by a "normal" person with no such qualms. However, physiotherapy is certainly helpful in allowing muscles and joints to recover from long-term disuse during treatment and to achieve the greater level of fitness which may now be necessary in order to function; and exercise in turn releases endorphins which have a pain-relieving effect on the body. Equally, counselling can be helpful in dealing with both practical and emotional issues arising from becoming disabled.
Talk Back (National Back Pain Association, January 1991) offers two opposing views of the suitability and effectiveness of inpatient rehabilitation programmes for back pain sufferers. On the one hand Moira Law writes of her experience that "I personally feel I benefited from the programme and call it my programme for life" (p3). On the other hand, Barbara Kushner writes that:
Before going on the course I could walk very well - for
twenty minutes at a time. Climbing stairs did not present a real problem
for me. I had never had any problem with my legs of any type.
Now walking is painful - and I cannot walk any distance outside the house and need a wheelchair to go shopping. Climbing stairs is now excruciatingly painful, and I can no longer drive." (p6)
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