A proper physical therapy program helps patients reduce pain, improve mobility, increase flexibility, and overall improve their quality of life. The benefits of PT are broad and include:
- Restoring strength and day-to-day function after an injury or surgery
- Improving overall function, flexibility, or balance
- Maintaining a healed injury to prevent re-injury
- Preventing disability or surgery
- Relieving chronic pain
- Rehabilitation after stroke or catastrophic injury
- Managing chronic illnesses such as heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, etc.
- Adapting to artificial limbs or assistive devices such as canes or walkers
For post-surgery patients, PT can help reduce recovery time, manage pain, and steadily return to normal function. After surgery, initial recovery is often focused on returning to daily function. Simple movements such as sitting up, getting out of bed, or walking from one end of the room to another can feel like insurmountable tasks. After major procedures, post-surgery patients also have a high falling risk, which could cause additional injury. Therefore, a proper physical therapy program is integral to the healing process, and when completed properly, it can help reduce recovery time and risk of re-injury to the treated area.
While it’s associated with recovery, physical therapy does not always have to occur after a procedure. The stronger and more healthy the patient, often the quicker their healing time after surgery. In the case of a planned surgery, a PT program leading up to a patient’s surgery day can strategically strengthen the patient and potentially reduce hospital recovery time. This means fewer days in an uncomfortable hospital gown and bed, and more time recovering comfortably at home.
In addition to feeling better more quickly, when it comes to health bills, discharging a few days early is worth the physical homework ahead of time!
After undergoing major surgery, often the last thought on a patient’s mind is rising from the hospital bed. However, some post-surgery patients are instructed to begin sitting up even within a few hours of a procedure. Remaining bedridden carries medical risks ranging from blood clots, bed sores, and more. So to begin the healing process, getting a patient up on their feet is a medical caregiver priority.
While the specific physical motions for each PT program may be different for each patient, it is important to follow instructions carefully and complete them as best you can. While soreness in the operated area is to be expected immediately after surgery, if you experience inordinate or pain, you should inform your medical caregiver immediately. It is their responsibility to evaluate your progress, ensure you are not experiencing post-surgery complications, and update your treatment plan accordingly.
Altogether, PT as prescribed by a certified medical professional is a safe and recommended curriculum of recovery, and can be prescribed under several pre- or post-surgical conditions. If you feel you may benefit from physical therapy for an upcoming surgery and would like to know more, contact your primary care doctor today to discuss your local care options.