Enhancing the ability to function within one's environment and to perform activities of daily living is a common goal in rehabilitation. The entire rehabilitation process should be focused on improving the patient's functional status. A functional progression for return to activity can be developed by breaking specific activities down into a hierarchy and then performing them in a sequence that allows for acquisition or reacquisition of skill. Rehabilitation following injury has focused upon restoring muscular strength, endurance, and joint flexibility without any consideration of the role of the neuromuscular mechanism. A common error in rehabilitation is assuming that clinical programs alone using traditional methods will safely return the athlete to function. Limiting athletic rehabilitation to these traditional programs often results in an incomplete restoration of athletic ability and quite possibly an increased risk of reinjury. Reactive neuromuscular training fills the gap left by traditional rehabilitation in order to return the athlete to activity.
The authors are with the Berkshire Institute of Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy, 2201 Ridgewood Road, Suite 375, Wyomissing, PA 19610.