Post-surgical rehabilitation can be a long process. After surgery, the rehabilitation period can take many months and even up to a year in some cases. It’s important for postoperative patients to realize this. Whether it’s knee surgery, shoulder surgery or another type of surgery, the recovery period will take time. The actual timeframe for recovery depends on many factors. Post-surgical rehabilitation is a progressive activity. Tissues need to be stimulated, as they cannot recover on their own. Recovery is a complex process, since tissue must also mature. The core of post-surgical rehabilitation is doing the right exercises and the right amount of exercises. The intensity of the stimulation should increase gradually and progressively.
The Benefits of Physical Therapy After Surgery
Most doctors and other medical professionals recommend physical therapy after having an operation because of its many benefits. The benefits of physical therapy post-op include:
- Promotion of healing
- Regain mobility
- Faster recovery
- Involvement in rehabilitation
- Address postoperative pain
- Reduce scar tissue formation
It is important for the body to heal after an operation. This could be to heal scar tissue or to retrain the muscles after surgery. With a physical therapist, patients can have a treatment plan designed specifically for their type of surgery. Surgeons diagnose and fix injuries; physical therapists improve the way you feel and function after surgery.
Surgeries in the lower extremities, especially the hips and knees, require physical therapy to regain mobility and flexibility. Physical therapy helps those injured return to their regular activities and daily tasks. Daily activities, such as walking and gardening, are possible again. Physical therapists understand the different stages of healing and know how to develop a treatment plan that speeds up recovery, so patients can return to their active lifestyle.
When developing a treatment plan, physical therapists always take into account pre-op fitness state and post-op goals. They access muscles and joints above and below the surgery site. Getting physical therapy services post-op allows patients to be actively engaged in recovery. It’s a collaborative relationship. Patients give physical therapists continual feedback about their progress and have a lot of input. Physical therapists develop specific exercise plans for each patient. Patients can learn the exercises with the physical therapist and then do them on their own at home. They may also provide passive treatments, such as manual massage, ultrasound and cold and hot therapies.
Therapy is usually divided into separate stages. The first phase comes immediately after surgery when the body part may be immobilized while pain and swelling start to reduce. Then comes a series of progressive exercises to improve range of motion, stability, and function. The last goal is to return the patient to a pre-injury activity level.
Physical therapy after surgery can put one on a faster track to recovery. Why let recovery take longer? Take advantage of physical therapy services if you’ve had surgery.