Are you scheduled for an upcoming surgery and concerned about bouncing back from it well—or even hopeful that you’ll end up feeling stronger than before?
Our highly skilled and experienced team of physical therapy clinicians can guide you through the entire pre-surgical and post-surgical process so that you can maximize your outcomes and make the most out of any type of invasive procedure.
What is post-surgical rehab and what are the benefits?
Both pre- and post-surgical rehab are essential elements to successful patient outcomes. Post-surgical rehab with a physical therapist is especially important in order to make sure things go smoothly after your operation is done. This is because any type of surgery is a form of trauma and can affect the body differently. Even minor and uncomplicated surgical procedures can have a major impact on your health.
Individualized post-surgical rehab with a physical therapist not only minimizes your pain and accelerates your rate of healing (and return to sport or work). It also reduces the chances of post-operative complications including infections, bleeding, blood clots, muscle weakness, scar tissue, decreased function, and other factors which can negatively impact your long-term health.
Another critical reason for electing post-surgical physical therapy is that it can help you reduce or completely avoid prescription pain killers, including opioids. An opioid epidemic is currently gripping the country and impacting every socioeconomic class. According to the CDC, an estimated 115 people every day die from opioid overdose, and upwards of 29% of people prescribed opioids will end up misusing these dangerous drugs!
For this reason, the CDC advises people to choose physical therapy over prescription painkillers whenever possible.
Common reasons for surgery and things to consider in the post-surgical phase
When conservative treatment options for an injury or health condition fails to provide effective relief, many patients elect to undergo surgery for rotator cuff tears and other types of injury, including:
- Full or partial knee replacements
- Total hip replacements
- ACL, MCL, and/or meniscus repairs
- Heart surgery (e.g., ablations, stent placements, cardiac pacemakers, etc.)
The impact of these surgeries should not be understated. Most surgeries incur at least some degree pain, inflammation, mobility limitations, and swelling. To complicate matters, you likely were already experiencing pain and dysfunction prior to your operation!
Plus, you’ll likely have to learn how to do certain things some things all over again (even things as simple as walking and dressing), either to accommodate healing tissues and/or to avoid recurring dysfunction. Your physical therapist can teach you how to perform tasks safely while following critical post-operative guidelines (e.g. hip precautions, sternal precautions, spine precautions, non-weight bearing, etc.) which are often outlined by your surgeon.
How Physical Therapy Helps in Post-Surgical Rehab
No matter what your particular surgery may be, you can rely upon a physical therapist to get you moving again. Our physical therapy team is here to help you make sense of confusing medical terms and learn the right progressions of exercises and activities to maximize post-surgical recovery!
Instead of masking pain, physical therapy helps you resolve your pain and other impairments. I do this through techniques such as joint mobilizations, home exercise programs, and non-invasive modalities including therapeutic ultrasound, electrical stimulation, and cold laser therapy.
Depending on your post-operative environment, a physical therapist can also help you problem solve how to safely get in and out of a car, up and down stairs, in and out of bed, and so on while protecting your healing surgical site and keeping you safe. I can give you adaptive tools to compensate for reduced movement while at the same time working with your body to restore normal range of movement as quickly as possible.
Lastly, our physical therapy team can also educate you about lifestyle and nutritional techniques to optimize your healing and health in the long-term. That way, you’ll be far more likely to avoid re-injury, recurrent surgeries, and prolonged downtime.
Feeling anxious about an upcoming surgery? Contact our physical therapy clinic today at Walpole, MA to schedule a post-surgical evaluation and set yourself up for post-operative success!