You’ve been dealing with chronic pain for months, and have talked to your doctor about surgery. It’s been scheduled and now you’re anxious about getting through the day. But what do you do the day — or the week — after the operation?
Many patients focus so much on the hours spent at the hospital that they don’t consider the importance of rehabilitation after the operation. If your doctor has prescribed physical therapy after your surgery, it’s because he believes it will be a key part of your recuperation. Here are some of the reasons you may need to do PT after your operation:
Reason 1: To promote healing.
This is the most common reason doctors prescribe physical therapy after surgery, to make sure that your body heals properly from your operation. This could be to minimize scar tissue after arthroscopy on your knee or shoulder, or to retrain your muscles after a major surgery, like repairing an ACL tear. The variety of factors is a key reason to see a physical therapist.
Keep in mind that your surgeon’s specialty is to diagnose and repair an injury, while physical therapists are musculoskeletal experts that are there to help improve the way you feel and function.
Reason 2: Guided stretching maintains flexibility
After surgery, scar tissue forms around bones and muscle while soft tissue contracts. If left untreated, this scar tissue will limit your range of motion and flexibility. Regular stretching exercises during physical therapy will ensure that scar formation doesn’t hamper your recovery. Physical therapy is also vital to regaining or maintaining your range of motion. Stiff joints and tight muscles can prevent you from performing even the simplest of tasks, such as climbing stairs or reaching overhead, which is why stretching under the guidance of a medical professional is essential to your recovery.
Reason 3: To regain mobility.
Surgeries on the lower extremities in particular (think your knees and hips) require physical therapy to regain mobility. This could be getting back to daily activities like walking and gardening, or returning to more vigorous exercise, like running a race.
And don’t be concerned about what the person next to you is doing at the clinic. Lee notes that your physical therapist will take into consideration both your pre-op fitness state and your post-op goals when developing your treatment plan. In addition, Lee points out, a physical therapists will assess the joints and muscles above and the below the surgery site to make sure those areas are fully functional as well. “
Reason 4: To have a faster recovery.
Doing the necessary rehabilitation will help your body recover much more quickly than if left to its own devices. In the case of total joint replacements, it’s been shown that starting physical therapy as soon as in the recovery room (i.e., when you wake up from the anesthesia) can lead to shorter hospital stays and quicker recoveries.
Reason 5: To be involved in your rehabilitation.
Working with the physical therapist allows the patient to be actively engaged in her recovery, and research has shown that patients who are actively engaged in their healthcare have better experiences than those who are not. A patient can work directly with his PT to determine not only how to best recover from surgery, but also how to live a healthier life.
Many doctors will also recommend a few sessions of physical therapy before your operation. This will help to strengthen your body as much as possible. In addition, talking to your PT about what lies ahead, including length of rehabilitation and what levels of pain to expect during your recovery, can be a huge help when approaching your post-operation period. In fact, a recent study showed that back patients who had just one pre-op session with a physical therapist had a much smoother post-op experience. So take advantage of their experience to prepare for your own.
If you are in need of physical therapy PrivaCare can provide highly skilled physical therapy in the comfort of your home. Get in touch with us today by contact 0300-858-CARE (0300-858-2273)