January 01, 2002
The goal in managing manymusculoskeletal injuries isnow early mobilization-notimmobilization. This shift inemphasis encompasses injuriesranging from a strained backto a sprained ankle. Patients withsciatica who previously might havebeen kept at bed rest for severalweeks are now encouraged to avoidbed rest and to alleviate nerve irrita-tion with positional exercises. Similarly,patients with ankle sprainsgain faster pain relief and recoverfunction more rapidly when cast orsplint immobilization is avoided.Early mobilization is appropriate formany acute injuries without riskof significant bone or joint instability.Its advantages have emerged asthe many detriments or hazards ofeven brief periods of immobilizingmuscles, joints, and bones havebecome apparent.