Most individuals are familiar with the thought of rehabilitation after surgery, but not the idea of pre-surgical rehabilitation (pre-hab).
Traditionally, a physical therapist helps with post-surgical rehabilitation, but you may be surprised to learn that the therapist can also be your biggest ally during the pre-hab process.
Often, there is a period of waiting involved prior to any surgery. This time is valuable, and it can be utilized to prepare the body for surgery and facilitate a better outcome after the surgical intervention. Individuals who participate in a pre-surgical rehabilitation program tend to regain function and return to their daily lives faster than those who do not. Improving health and fitness, and being in optimal physical health can go a long way towards the facilitation of post-operative recovery. Patients who are physically prepared for surgery can leave the hospital sooner and are likely to suffer fewer complications.
When muscles, bones and joints are in optimum condition before the procedure, the impact of the inevitable muscle loss and joint stiffness is minimized post-operative. Essentially, the stronger a person is going into surgery, the better the chances of an easier and faster recovery after the surgery. It is common for the region that is about to be operated on to be inflamed and weak. With a carefully planned exercise routine, a physical therapist can help reduce inflammation and improve blood circulation to the affected area. This improves mobility, helps with pain relief, promotes correct movement patterns and minimizes compensatory movements like leaning and uneven weight bearing.
By working with a physical therapist prior to surgery and creating a pre-surgery rehabilitation plan, you will create a strong foundation for rapid recovery. Similar to the post-surgical collaboration, you can expect your physical therapist to work closely with your doctors to facilitate recovery even before you have surgery.
If you or someone you know is considering or planning surgery, call 310.475.6038 to schedule a consultation with one of our staff physical therapists.
Guidelines for Pre-Surgical Rehabilitation: 1. Start the program at least six weeks prior to the surgery. 2. Start slowly. This is not the time to aggravate an existing issue or trigger a new one. 3. If you are physically fit, consider increasing your intensity, frequency or duration, as long as it doesn't interfere with your current injury. 4. Yoga is an excellent way to prepare both the mind and body for surgery. The combination of relaxation and soothing movements can be beneficial before, as well as after surgery.