Functional Restoration Program

If you have chronic back and/or neck pain and have most - but not all - of the function you need to allow you to return to work or daily activities, the four-week Functional Restoration Program at the University of Michigan can get you back to work, help you start a new career, or be able to take care of your kids. Our multidisciplinary program addresses the total person, from rehabilitation to vocational counseling.

Eligible patients (minimum age is 18) are typically individuals who are disabled from work or fundamental life activities for more than three months. Patients cannot be a surgical candidate, and all reasonable medical treatments, should be exhausted. A screening test called the Spine Team Assessment is given by a physical therapist, occupational therapist and psychologist, which includes an evaluation and history to determine if the patient should be in this program, the seniors version of this program, or in our less aggressive Multidisciplinary Spine Treatment (MST) Program.

Some issues we work on with patients include:

  • Pain management
  • Sitting for longer periods of time
  • Standing for longer periods of time
  • Working on a computer
  • Cardiovascular training
  • Building core strength
  • Bending down to pick up heavier objects, such as laundry
  • Coping with stress, depression and/or anxiety
  • Help with living arrangements
  • Resume assistance
  • Interviewing skills

The program runs Monday through Thursday for four consecutive weeks, with patients exercising at home or a local health club and completing homework assignments Friday through Sunday. A sample daily schedule includes orientation (for new patients), supervised exercise, group education (such as vocational counseling), occupational therapy, lunch, functional activity, individual physical therapy and individual psychology. Therapists can continue to see patients after the program if this is deemed to be necessary.

Our Multidisciplinary Team

  • A physician specializing in spine management
  • Psychologists specializing in pain and stress management, and coping with pain
  • An occupational therapist helping patients improve everyday function towards predetermined goals
  • A physical therapist to improve body mechanics through joint movement, stretching, body awareness and education
  • An exercise and health educator, who works with small groups and individuals
  • A rehabilitation counselor specializing in vocational issues

Once you have completed the program, you will be given an exercise program to be performed on a regular basis. Follow-up appointments with one of our Spine Program physicians and the Functional Restoration Program team are typically made for 1 and 3 months following discharge.

Free parking is readily available at our off-site, Ann Arbor location.

Contact Us

You're about to make an important decision, and we want to help you make a good one. Our staff will be glad to talk with you about your options and how we can help. Please visit our Make an Appointment page for more information.