If you’ve made the decision to undergo surgery to address an issue like an unstable ankle or a herniated disc in your spine, congratulations on making a conscious choice to put your health first. You may have your eyes set on surgery and your post-op recovery, but your journey to return to the healthiest version of yourself actually begins before the surgery takes place. If you really want to do all you can to make a strong recovery after surgery, you’ll want to talk to your surgeon or your care team about prehabilitation.
Prehabilitation is very similar to rehabilitation, with the obvious difference being that you start treatment prior to surgery. You might be wondering why you should start targeting your injured area before it’s been surgically addressed by a doctor. We explain why you’ll want to discuss prehabilitation with your care team before surgery, and how a physical therapist can help with this process in today’s blog.
Prehabbing With A Physical Therapist Before Surgery
A prehabilitation routine has numerous benefits for anyone who will be undergoing orthopedic surgery in the near future. Prehab allows you to:
- Start Strengthening Key Areas – You don’t need to wait until after surgery to start helping muscles and other tissues in or around your injured area. The stronger your muscles are before surgery, the better off they’ll be following the procedure. Your body will be in a weakened state after the operation, but if you have already begun to strengthen and stabilize the area before surgery, your body will respond better following the operation.
- Meet Your Care Team – You can also benefit from getting to know members of your care team before your operation. It will be easier to work with your physical therapist or recovery team if you’re familiar with them and comfortable with the care they are providing. Start this process before you’re uncomfortable following the operation, because changes or adjustments will be a little more of a headache if you wait until after surgery to pursue them.
- Start Healthy Habits – Getting into a physical therapy routine before surgery helps you develop healthy and active habits. It’s similar to starting a diet or beginning to train for a marathon. Once you take that leap and start the process, it becomes easier to follow through on those commitments. If you begin rehab exercises before surgery, you’ll be more likely to continue to do them after surgery because you’re familiar with them and they are already part of your routine.
- Know How To Do What’s Asked Of You – You can also get more out of your post-op rehabilitation if you understand the exercises and stretches that you’ll be performing because you already learned them during prehabilitation. You won’t have to learn the maneuvers or spend valuable time understanding why you’re doing what you’re doing. You’ll know the exercises and understand why you’re performing them, so your post-op sessions can be more efficient.
- Saves You Money – One final reason to consider prehabilitation is that it can save you money in the long run. Studies have shown that those people who pursue prehab services are significantly less likely to need as much post-op services as those who skip prehabilitation. You’re not going to be able to avoid rehab altogether because you pursued prehabilitation, but you may need a few less weeks of physical therapy, or you may be stronger or more physically capable because of it, which can save you a lot of money over time. Invest in your health before surgery, and you may have a little extra money because of it!
For more information about the benefits of prehab, or to consult with a physical therapist about what you can do before surgery to improve your chances of better outcomes after surgery, reach out to the team at OrthoRehab Specialists today!