medical approach: The doctor is the expert; treatment by the doctor causes the outcome. The patient is passive; the patient's job is to follow the treatment recommendations of the doctor. Location: the doctor's office, clinic or hospital. This approach is best for traumatic injuries, acute strains and diseases caused by infections. It does not work well for strains and sprains beyond a few days or weeks.
rehabilitation approach: The patient becomes the expert by learning information and skills from the doctor, physical therapist, occupational therapist that is specific to them. The patient is active; the outcome is the result of the patient's actions. The doctor and other providers serve as consultants to educate and support the patient's gaining knowledge and skills to create the best outcome. Location: in real life - outside of the doctor's office.
Many injured workers and health providers as well don't make the switch soon enough from a medical approach to a rehabilitation approach. The industrial insurance system often contributes to this problem by reviewing and delaying appropriate and necessary medical tests and treatment. What begins as a medical issue often ends up as a struggle to get authorization from a claims manager, resulting in delay and frustration of both provider and injured worker.