Many people think that physical therapy can only help someone after an operation has been performed, but this isn’t true! One of the most important times that you could seek physical therapy is before undergoing surgery on a joint or muscle.
Physical therapy has proven time and time again to effectively help with preparing a person’s body for surgical correction, as well as enhancing the recovery process. A physical therapist’s touch can make it possible for a person to get their full strength back as quickly as possible following a surgical procedure.
If you’re facing a surgical procedure, contact our office today to learn more about pre-hab programs and how they may benefit you and speed up your recovery process after your operation.
Benefits of physical therapy before surgery
The Arthritis Foundation states “Studies show that knee and hip replacement surgery patients who had participated in water- and land-based strength training, aerobic and flexibility exercises for six weeks beforetheir surgeries reduced their odds of needing inpatient rehabilitation by up to 73 percent. Pre-hab stabilizes your pain levels before surgery and gets you back on your feet faster after surgery.”
Meeting with a physical therapist for the first time shouldn’t wait until after your surgical date. Pre-operative physical therapy, also coined “pre-hab,” has been demonstrated to be just as valuable as post-operative physical therapy. If you are facing a surgical procedure, it may be a good idea to consult with your surgeon about your options for physical therapy.
Pre-surgical rehabilitation with physical therapy is designed to help the body recover as much strength as possible in the area surrounding the surgical site, to enhance the body’s ability to recover following your surgical procedure. During preoperative physical therapy, the physical therapist will work with you to improve strength and functionality in the areas immediately surrounding the targeted injury site. This process can help immensely with the recovery process following surgical care.
Pre-surgical rehab with physical therapy often incorporates:
- Hot and cold therapy
- Stretching and mobility training
- Muscle training
Your physical therapist may prescribe numerous exercises and stretches for you to perform at home as well to ensure that your operation can go as smoothly as possible. If at any time you feel uncomfortable performing an exercise, let your therapist know! They are experts at helping you figure out ways to complete these exercises without pain and will be able to come up with a solution that benefits your situation the most.
Benefits of receiving physical therapy after surgery
It is typically recommended that you discuss your physical therapy options with your surgeon and physical therapist before your operation so that you can set up your first postoperative care as soon as possible following your surgical date. Keep in mind that if your physician does recommend physical therapy, the sooner you begin your treatment following a surgical procedure, the greater the impact physical therapy can have on your recovery.
Physical therapy treatment will typically start soon after the surgical procedure, once the wound of the surgical site has healed and your body is ready to begin healing the actual torn tissue or damaged joint. If you choose to recover without the aid of a physical therapist, you run the risk of the corrected tissues, tendons, and muscles will recovering stiffly, with scar tissue interfering with your range of motion and atrophy limiting the amount of comfort and strength at the surgical site.
Post-surgical rehabilitation with physical therapy can help to:
- Alleviate pain
- Return strength to pre-injury levels
- Dramatically reduce the recovery period
Following surgery, your physical therapy program will be customized to fit your condition and personal needs. In the first consultation with your physical therapist, be prepared to discuss the severity of the injury and the details of your surgical procedure. Your physical therapist will assess your range of motion and levels of strength at this time as well.
Different kinds of therapies will then be catered to your needs. Most commonly, the therapeutic techniques your therapist uses will include a combination of massage therapy, hot and cold therapy, range of motion/mobility training, and guided stretching and muscle training. Your physical therapist will also provide you with guidance for exercises that you should do at home, which will further help to improve your recovery process.
If you have an upcoming operation, don’t waste any more time…
We know that surgery can seem intimidating, especially if it’s unavoidable. The recovery process is incredibly important following an operation. As soon as you find out what your doctor’s surgical plans for you are, contact a physical therapist and let them know. They’ll be able to work with your physician and/or surgeon to make a plan for pre- and post-surgical care that will help you to experience the best recovery possible.