The most important causes of chronic invalidism are degenerative changes associated with aging and the destructive lesions of chronic disease. Certain acute illnesses, accidents and injuries also leave damaged tissues and functional abnormalities which lead to enduring physical disabilities. That the specific technics of rehabilitation and retraining can be applied to reduce such physical handicaps is now being demonstrated in treatment centers scattered throughout the country.1 I propose herein not to review these trends but rather to discuss some of the mechanisms which explain why dynamic activity appears to be the keynote to rehabilitation and how physical medicine furthers its objectives.
The clinical literature of the present decade has focused considerable attention on the evils of bed rest2 and the restorative effects of early ambulation.3 The work of Blodgett,4 recently editorialized on in The Journal of the American Medical Association,5 now suggests that early ambulation following
HELLEBRANDT FA. PHYSICAL MEDICINE AND REHABILITATION IN THE PREVENTION OF CHRONIC INVALIDISM. JAMA. 1950;142(13):967–969. doi:10.1001/jama.1950.02910310011003