Surgery is a very effective treatment tool for a myriad of health conditions that cannot effectively be controlled with conservative techniques, but even when it is performed on a minimally invasive basis, it’s still a significant undertaking on your body. Tissues need to be cut, bones may be fused and your body will certainly feel different once the operation is complete.
And while the goal is to be in less pain following an operation, that doesn’t mean that you’ll be free from pain even at the end of your recovery. That being said, if you sync up with a physical therapist, you can reduce the likelihood of having lingering discomfort throughout and after your rehabilitation. In today’s blog, we explain how a physical therapist can help reduce and eliminate post-surgical pain as you recover after an operation.
How PT Can Help With Post-Surgery Pain
As we mentioned above, there is a significant amount of trauma on the body during even the most minimally invasive procedures, and that trauma only increases if more traditional techniques need to be used. With that in mind, here’s a look at some of the ways a physical therapist can help to reduce post-op pain as you recover following surgery.
- Tissue Strengthening and Healing – These soft tissues and muscles that had to be cut in order to access the surgery site will be in a weakened and injured state following the operation. It’s not just enough to just sit back and let healing run its course, you need to target these areas with safe exercise and strengthening techniques. A physical therapist can help to safely develop these injured muscles and ensure they get back to being able to handle a normal amount of stress. If they never reach full recovery, pain can develop when the area is stressed. Avoid this by connecting with a physical therapist.
- Lost Range Of Motion And Flexibility – When tissues are cut, scar tissue develops to take the place of the damaged tissue. This scar tissue is a little more rigid and less flexible than normal skin, which can restrict your standard range of motion. By working with a physical therapist, you can help to break up this scar tissue and ensure areas remain flexible. This can also help to prevent nerves and other structures from being enveloped by this scar tissue, which can lead to pain sensations.
- Muscle Atrophy – Your muscle strength can decrease if you don’t regularly stress your muscles, but exercise may not be possible depending on your surgery. If you have to be non-weight bearing for six weeks or need months to recover following artificial disc replacement, muscle groups can atrophy as a result of limited use. A physical therapist can develop exercises, stretches and other movement routines to target and safely improve muscle groups that cannot be used normally as a result of your surgery. Muscle weakness can lead to pain, so find ways to keep muscle groups active and engaged while you progress through recovery.
- Muscle Tension – Finally, muscle tension can be another source of pain in the wake of a surgical procedure. Muscles around the surgical site can tense up as a result of the nearby trauma, and this tension can eventually lead to pain. We can work to alleviate muscle tension through manual therapy techniques or other simple stretching routines that you can perform from the comfort of your home.
So if you are still dealing with lingering pain following a surgical procedure, or you have an upcoming operation and you want to do everything in your power to reduce your likelihood of long-term post-op discomfort, reach out to the team at OrthoRehab Specialists and let us find an individualized recovery plan tailored to your unique situation.