Our pre-operative care is specially designed by our therapists to help you before surgery and improve your outcome after surgery. The goals of pre-operative care include:
- Mentally preparing for surgery
- Reducing pain and inflammation before the operation
- Improving muscular control for faster recovery
- Educating patients on immediate post-surgical exercises and precautions
- Increasing overall well-being and fitness
For many illnesses and injuries, surgery is often a necessary solution. Depending on the severity of the illness or injury, surgery can be nerve wracking. Physical therapy can improve the recovery and healing process after a major surgery. This is known as post-operative care, or post-surgery, recovery or rehabilitation. There are typically three stages in post-operative rehabilitation.
- Immediately following surgery, the first stage is when the body is ultimately immobilized as the body goes through a basic healing process. The swelling will go down and the initial pain of surgery will recede.
- Now the work starts! The patient’s physical therapist will work with him or her to design a plan involving progressive exercises that will begin to strengthen the body, rebuilding the patient’s range of motion and overall stability.
- With time, the patient will be able to return to their normal pre-surgery level of physical activity, whatever that may have been for them. This is the ultimate goal of post-operative care, and physical therapy as a whole.
There are several benefits to going through post-operative care with a physical therapist, including:
Proper Healing and Faster Recovery Time
After a surgery, having a personalized physical therapy plan can help ensure that your body heals properly. Examples of this include decreasing scar tissue, restoring joint motion and function, and retraining muscles.
Another benefit is a faster recovery time. For example, a total joint replacement can take a huge toll on the body, but it has been proven if one begins physical therapy following such a major surgery (even as early as waking up from the anesthesia!) the patient tends to have both shorter hospital stays and faster recoveries overall.
Knee and hip surgeries require physical therapy more than anything else to help regain your mobility. Physical therapy will help you return to anything, from normal every day walking, to something more physically challenging – such as running a marathon!
Research has shown that patients who actively participate in their recovery process typically have better outcomes and recovery experiences than those who don’t. Spending time with a physical therapist can help the patient know which methods for recovery will work best for them and also how to maintain that level of health after, if not increase their overall health afterwards.
These are some of the major benefits of physical therapy after a major surgery:
- Helps with circulation after surgery – preventing blood clots.
- Posture, balance, and coordination improvement and training.
- Gait analysis and training.
- Self-care training.
- Manual therapy techniques.
- Home exercise education.
- Pain control and management.
- Improved flexibility.
- Reduced risk for postoperative pulmonary complications (PCCs).
Some doctors may even prescribe a few sessions of physical therapy before the operation to help strengthen your body and find out more about what the recovery process may end up looking like for you. For example, it’s been found that back surgery patients who have undergone physical therapy have had a quicker recovery time than those who hadn’t gone through post-operative rehabilitation.
It’s important to remember and keep in mind, however, that a surgery may last a few hours, but appropriate rehabilitation and recovery time will look different for different people and procedures, possibly taking anywhere from a few weeks to a year to complete. This is why it’s important to speak with your doctor and physical therapist before the surgery so you know what you can expect in terms of recovery time. Understanding what to expect can help you mentally and physically prepare for what’s ahead. While the time frame is something to keep in mind, post-operative rehabilitation is always worth the time it takes to maintain and improve a person’s overall health, both now and in the future.