If you’ve struggled to find relief through traditional conservative methods like rest and physical therapy, your doctor may recommend a surgical procedure. Surgery is oftentimes a very effective treatment option, but it’s only a step on the long journey to recovery. Your surgeon will provide the technical aspect for recovery, but it’s what you do after surgery that will determine your functional recovery. Below, we explain in greater detail why it’s so important to pursue physical therapy after your surgical procedure.
The Benefits Of PT After Surgery
You’re not going to make the strongest recovery possible by lying in bed for weeks following your surgical procedure. However, being active and pursuing physical therapy after surgery doesn’t just improve your overall physical function after surgery, it can also act as a preventative measure against some potential pitfalls that you could encounter during your recovery. Here’s a look at why post-op physical therapy is so important.
- Early Movement Is Essential – Research has shown that patients who are up and moving shortly after surgery have faster recovery times and make a stronger functional recovery than those who stay immobile for an extended period after surgery. Obviously you’ll want to stay within the restrictions put forth by your treating surgeon, but odds are they are going to push for early movement, early standing and early physical therapy. It’s not uncommon for patients who undergo a knee or hip replacement to be up and moving within a few hours of surgery because early movement is so important for healing!
- Prevents Scar Tissue Build Up – Even though incision sites are getting smaller as technology improves, your body will still form a scar as the surgical wound heals. The tissue that helps the wound site heal is slightly different from normal skin. This scar tissue is a little thicker, and if it forms in large masses it can envelop nearby nerves and cause significant discomfort. Physical therapy and movement exercises can help to break up scar tissue formations so that it’s less likely nerves become entrapped as the wound site heals. Physical therapy during the wound healing stage may not be super comfortable, but it’s certainly not as uncomfortable as dealing with a compressed nerve due to scar tissue formation.
- Goal-Specific Therapy – By working with a physical therapist, you’ll be connecting with someone who can help you meet your individual recovery goals. If you want to get back to playing a certain sport or simply make it so that you can enjoy playing with your grandkids without pain, we can tailor a physical therapy routine to these specific goals. If you want to get back to doing all the activities you once loved after surgery, your best bet will be to follow a curated PT program.
- Injury Prevention – One of the main reasons why people don’t want to be active or pursue physical therapy after their surgical operation is because they are afraid of doing something that will cause a setback. If they push themselves too hard too quickly, a setback can prolong their recovery, so they opt to take things slow with rest, which isn’t the best strategy either. This is why it’s important to work with a physical therapist after your operation. We’re constantly evaluating your movements and assessing your baseline strengths and weaknesses so that we can develop a PT routine that pushes you and helps you achieve progress without overdoing it. If you’re afraid of movement during the early stages of recovery, there’s no better person to have by your side than a physical therapist.
Post-op physical therapy can speed up your recovery and ensure that you make the strongest recovery possible, so please follow your doctor’s recommendations and consider connecting with a professional near you. In the greater Twin Cities area, we hope you’ll sync up with the team at OrthoRehab Specialists. Set up your first session today by calling (612) 339-2041.