If you’re preparing for surgery, don’t forget one of the most important steps- scheduling your post-surgical rehabilitation! Post-surgical rehab is vital to helping you regain your strength, balance, flexibility, and function. This will ensure your success and help to expedite your recovery time after surgery.
Why do I need Rehab After Surgery?
Whether you have recently had heart surgery, a joint replacement or reconstructive surgery on a part of your body, surgery is traumatic on the body. Skin is cut, muscles and organs are moved, joints are manipulated, tendons and ligaments are sewn, the list goes on and on. Once that surgery is complete, your body immediately begins the process of healing itself. However, you may not have the same ability to stand, walk, dress and care for yourself that you did before. The goal of a Physical or Occupational Therapy rehab program is to:
- Reduce pain and swelling
- Improve range of motion and movement
- Strengthen your muscles
- Help you return to the activities that you need to do
- Help you return to leisure or sporting activities that you love
What to Expect From Post-Surgical Rehab with a Physical or Occupational Therapist
Your surgeon has spent years learning how to mechanically repair problems throughout your body. Your Physical or Occupational Therapists has spent years developing their skills as movement experts who can assist you in your recovery. When led by a Physical or Occupational Therapist, post-surgical rehab uses a variety of exercises and treatments to help limit the amount of pain you are experiencing while increasing range of motion, strength, balance, and quality of movement.
First, your Physical or Occupational Therapist will evaluate your surgical site and current abilities based on the type of surgery you had. Using this information, they will then create a customized recovery plan designed to meet your unique post-surgical needs.
Your post-surgical rehab plan may include:
- Manual Therapy to improve mobility in your joints and soft tissues
- Targeted exercises to improve movement and increase overall physical endurance
- Strengthening exercises
- Ice and heat to limit inflammation and reduce pain levels
- Class 4 Light Laser to speed healing, reduce pain and decrease swelling
Periodically during the rehabilitation process, your Physical or Occupational Therapist will evaluate your progress and make adjustments to your treatment plan to maximize both your time and your potential for improvement.
Once you have completed your Physical or Occupational Therapy rehabilitation program, you will be discharged with instructions on ways to continue to build strength and endurance. This may include exercises for continued strength and mobility, suggestions for diet and exercise programs that will improve endurance or information on group fitness classes that will help continue your therapeutic process.
Recovery Takes Time
Typically, regardless of the surgical procedure, you go from pre-op to the recovery room in just a few hours. Once you are cleared for activity, rehab after surgery can take months or even up to a year. Recovery is complex and dependent on several factors, some of which are beyond your control. You may strictly adhere to your Physical or Occupational Therapy schedule and exercises but your body’s natural healing process may be slowed by diet, age, other medical conditions, or your pre-surgical wellness. Regardless of how long it takes, it is important to remember that post-surgical rehab is a complex, progressive process. Patience and consistency are the keys while you allow your body to do the work of healing.
An Ounce of Prevention
Recent studies have shown that post-surgical Physical or Occupational Therapy rehabilitation is even more effective when patients participate in something called pre-surgical Physical or Occupational Therapy. Your surgeon may prescribe such measures in order to strengthen your body and prepare you for your procedures. Even two or three sessions have been proven to improve circulation, speed wound healing, reduce the number of pain patients experience after surgery and speed the post-surgical rehab process. If you are preparing to have surgery, talk to your surgeon about the need for pre-surgical Physical Therapy or Occupational Therapy and Contact our team of physical therapist Today at Pinellas Park & Seminole, FL Centers for a consultation.