The success of your surgery does not end when you leave the operating room. “The only place ‘success’ comes before ‘work’ is in the dictionary,” says one famous quote.
Your surgeon will have expertly performed a surgical procedure that is the first step toward a successful outcome. Your physiotherapist will then typically prescribe and supervise a post-operative rehabilitation programme for you.
Your physiotherapist will teach you simple exercises to help you avoid complications like a chest infection or blood clots (DVTs) in the hospital. Early strengthening or range of motion exercises are usually recommended for your rehabilitation. Once you’ve been discharged, you’ll almost certainly need to be re-assessed and your progress monitored.
Following orthopaedic surgery, you will almost certainly require exercise progression to regain adequate strength, flexibility, and function. It is common practise to consult with a physiotherapist who specialises in post-operative rehabilitation.
When Will You Require Post-Operative Rehabilitation?
Following orthopaedic surgery, cardiac surgery, or cancer prevention surgery, post-surgery rehabilitation is a must. Pre-surgery physiotherapy is often recommended by doctors because it leads to faster post-operative recovery, increased joint movement, and decreased swelling following an initial injury.
The Value of Post-Operative Rehabilitation
Post-surgery physical therapy is critical in post-operative rehabilitation because it ensures a faster and complete recovery as well as an effective return to pre-surgery physical function. Post-surgery body tissue/joint/cartilage require some stimulus to recover; post-surgery physical therapy provides this much-needed stimulus.
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Other advantages of physiotherapy after surgery include the following:
- Aids in the proper circulation of blood following surgery, preventing blood clots.
- It aids in the improvement of muscle strength, posture, and body balance.
- Physiotherapy can also assist a person in getting back on their feet.
- Physiotherapy also teaches patients effective self-care skills such as getting out of bed safely, bathing, climbing stairs, and so on.
- Physiotherapy relieves pain and teaches you pain management and manual therapy techniques.
- Finally, physiotherapy lowers the likelihood of post-operative pulmonary complications (PCCs)
The five reasons why physical therapy is an important part of surgery recovery are as follows:
- Enhances mobility, balance, and strength: Surgery can limit mobility in the affected region or body part. The natural response of the body is to protect the area of trauma, which can result in muscle/tissue tightness, swelling, spasms, and limited range of motion. Through movement, strengthening exercises, myofascial release, and other manual techniques, physical therapy can help patients regain mobility. Furthermore, exercises to strengthen muscles in the core, back, and pelvis increase stability and balance, which can be extremely beneficial in recovering from surgeries such as knee or hip replacement.
- Reduces pain and swelling:
Swelling is a normal part of the healing process and varies greatly from person to person. Chemicals that stimulate nerve endings are released, and the swelling compresses the nerves, causing pain. Swelling reduction promotes healing and mobility, both of which reduce overall pain. Exercises and movement performed during rehabilitation can aid in the reduction of swelling and the prevention of chronic surgical pain.
- Reduces scar tissue formation:
Scar tissue forms and soft tissue contracts as part of the natural healing process after an injury or surgery. Scarring can result from surgery anywhere on the body, and excess scar tissue can limit function and movement for months afterward. To soften scar tissue and restore patients’ normal flexibility, a physical therapist can use a variety of tissue mobilisation techniques, such as massage and ultrasound therapy.
- Reduces the development of secondary issues:
After surgery, infections, blood clots, and other complications can occur, and physical therapy can help to reduce these often costly and debilitating secondary complications. Tailored movement exercises performed with a physical therapist after surgery will help to reduce the risk of infection, contractures, and blood clots.
- Increases flexibility:
Inactivity causes weakened muscles that become stiff and prone to injury. Normal daily activities such as reaching overhead, climbing stairs, and rising from a seated position can be severely hampered when muscles are tight and joints are stiff. Gentle stretching exercises are one of the first activities introduced after surgery to keep vulnerable muscles limber.
Because soft tissue healing typically takes six to eight weeks, you should plan to participate in therapeutic activities for at least that long. Rehabilitation may take place inpatient, outpatient, or a combination of the two, depending on the surgery. Your therapist may also assign you “homework” exercises to do on your own as you recover.
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Physical therapy can help patients return to their normal lifestyle and activity levels after surgery.
You may be surprised to learn that physiotherapists play an important role in your inter professional healthcare team both before and after surgery.
Physiotherapy can help your surgery go more smoothly and your recovery go faster and easier.