Physical therapy is a critical component of recovering from most orthopedic surgeries. No matter when or why your surgery is scheduled, is it often accompanied by nerve-wracking “what-ifs” and questions about recovery. Physical therapy plays a large role in putting nerves at ease, answering questions and creating a healthy healing process.
There are three main stages of post-operative recovery:
1. Depending on your surgeon’s recommendations, physical therapy will begin immediately or within days or weeks. As the body begins its recovery swelling and pain will decrease.
2. Next the work begins. Physical therapy works with your body’s natural healing abilities as your therapist helps get you moving again and develops a plan to coordinate recovery based on your surgeon’s recommendations. Restoring range of motion, stability and strength are traditionally three of the main objectives for post-op physical therapy.
3. Returning to full physical activity. This includes making it through a full day of work, or being able to walk the River Trail, and returning to sports. It is your physical therapist’s goal to get you back to what you enjoy doing, pain free.
At Rebound Physical Therapy we create a plan for each patient specific to their surgery, their recovery, and their goals. This treatment plan helps to minimize scar tissue, improve joint range of motion, and regain full strength and function.
In particular, research on knee and shoulder post-op patients shows surgery results and outcomes to be considerably enhanced when physical therapy is part of the rehabilitation plan. Patients that actively participate in their own recovery process consistently reach a higher level of function than those who do not attend PT.
Additional benefits of postoperative physical therapy include:
• Overall circulation, prevention of blood clots
• Improved posture, balance and coordination
• Self-care training
• Management of swelling and scar tissue formation
• Home exercise program and instruction
• Pain control and management
• Improved range of motion, mobility and flexibility
• Reduced risk for post-operative pulmonary complications (PCCs)
In some cases, physical therapy may also be prescribed prior to surgery. For certain surgical candidates it is helpful to gain strength ahead of time to help the body prepare to heal after the surgery.
If you are planning on surgery it can be extremely beneficial to speak with your physical therapist and surgeon prior to and discuss a plan of care for recovery. Knowing what to expect and having a plan can help you mentally and physically prepare for what lies ahead in the weeks and months after.
Should you have any questions regarding pre or post operative physical therapy please call one of our clinics and we will be happy to speak with you about your options and what is the best course of care for you and your recovery.