Surgery can be a major life event, and the recovery process can be long and challenging. The procedure, even when minimally invasive, can come with temporary weakness, pain, and swelling. Postoperative physical therapy can help you get back to your normal activities as quickly and safely as possible.
So, what can you do to navigate rehabilitation after surgery? Find out below.
What is Postoperative Physical Therapy?
Postoperative physical therapy is a specialized type of physical therapy that helps people recover from surgery.
It typically involves a combination of exercises, manual therapy, and education. The goals of postoperative PT vary depending on the type of surgery you have had, but may include:
- Reducing pain and inflammation
- Improving range of motion
- Increasing strength and endurance
- Improving balance and coordination
- Preventing complications
When to Start Postoperative Physical Therapy
The timing of when to start physical therapy will vary depending on the type of surgery you have done and your individual needs.
Some people may start attending sessions as soon as the day after surgery, while others may need to wait a few weeks. Your surgeon or physical therapist will be able to give you specific instructions on when to start therapy.
What to Expect During Therapy
Your first appointment with a physical therapist will typically involve a comprehensive evaluation of your condition. Your therapist will ask you about your medical history, the surgery you had done, and your current symptoms. They will also perform a physical examination to assess your range of motion, strength, and balance.
Based on the results of your evaluation, your therapist will develop a personalized treatment plan for you. This plan will likely include a combination of exercises, manual therapy, and education.
The exercises you do in PT will vary depending on the type of surgery you had done and your individual needs. Some common exercises include:
- Range-of-motion exercises to improve the flexibility of your joints
- Strengthening exercises to build muscle mass
- Endurance exercises to improve your stamina
- Balance and coordination exercises to help you stay upright and move safely
Your therapist will start you with gentle exercises and gradually increase the intensity and difficulty as you improve.
They will also teach you how to do the exercises correctly, so you can do them safely at home.
Manual therapy is a hands-on technique that can be used to reduce pain and inflammation, improve range of motion, and increase flexibility.
Your therapist may use techniques such as massage, joint mobilization, and stretching.
Your therapist will also provide you with education about your condition and how to care for yourself at home. This may include information about:
- Postoperative wound care
- Exercises to do at home
- How to manage pain
- How to prevent complications
How Long You Need to Attend Therapy
The length of time you need physical therapy will vary depending on the type of surgery you had and your progress.
Some people may only need a few weeks of sessions, while others may need several months to regain their strength, mobility, and range of motion. Your therapist can determine when you are ready to stop therapy.
How to Make the Most of Physical Therapy
There are a few things you can do to make the most of postoperative physical therapy:
- Be an active participant in your care.
- Ask questions and let your physical therapist know how you are feeling.
- Follow your physical therapist’s instructions carefully.
- Do your exercises at home.
- Refrain from doing activities that your therapist has told you to avoid.
- Be patient and remember that recovery takes time.
- Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see results immediately.
Here are some additional tips for navigating rehabilitation after surgery:
- Get enough rest – Your body needs time to heal, so make sure you get plenty of sleep every night.
- Eat a healthy diet – Eating nutritious foods will help your body recover.
- Stay hydrated – Drink plenty of fluids to help flush out toxins and keep your body functioning properly.
- Manage your pain – There are many ways to manage pain after surgery, such as medication and applying heat and ice. Talk to your doctor or physical therapist about the best way to manage your pain.
- Don’t overdo it – It is important to gradually increase your activity level as you recover. Don’t try to do too much too soon, or you could risk re-injury.
With proper care and rehabilitation, you can make a full recovery from surgery and get back to your normal activities.
Physical Therapy in Rochester Hills, MI
Postoperative physical therapy is an important part of your recovery from surgery. By working with a qualified physical therapist, you can get back to your normal activities as quickly and safely as possible.
Do you need physical therapy in Rochester Hills? Rely on the experts at Ahlgren Spine. Our expert team of healthcare providers is led by board-certified and fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Bradley Ahlgren. With us, you will receive nothing short of the best care. You may call us today at (248) 215-8080 for assistance. Alternatively, you can schedule a visit using our online request form.
We look forward to serving you!