Discover How Physical Therapy Can Make Your Recovery Quicker and Easier!
Every year, our PT team treats thousands of people recovering from surgery.
Whether you’re undergoing a joint replacement, back surgery, or some other procedure, we’re confident that working with a physical therapist can help you heal and get back to your active lifestyle as efficiently and safely as possible.
What can physical therapy do for me after surgery?
A trained physical therapist can advise you regarding the best post-surgical plan for your specific needs. As soon as you know when your surgery is scheduled you’ll want to make an appointment with a physical therapist.
A therapist will likely do a complete physical assessment before creating a unique rehab program.
Physical therapy treatment can help you achieve as much strength, stamina, flexibility, and improved range of motion as possible both before and after your surgery.
In fact, according to the American Physical Therapy Association, there are proven benefits to both pre-surgical rehabilitation AND post-surgical rehabilitation. A physical therapist may use a variety of manual therapies or teach you exercises you can do at home.
A therapist might also use heat, ice, or electrical stimulation. You’ll want to get started as soon as possible to make sure you’re prepared for surgery and can make a quick and full recovery.
Curious about why physical therapy is so important in the post-surgical window? We’ve got three reasons to pique your interest.
1. Improve your recovery.
Our bodies are incredibly powerful and capable of healing themselves. The type of non-invasive and drug-free services and techniques a physical therapist can offer can enhance self-healing power and work with the body—instead of just covering up symptoms.
By minimizing pain and reducing the risk of complications, your physical therapy team can help you stay on track during your recovery period so you can regain and maximize your strength, balance, range of motion, endurance, and overall function as quickly as possible.
2. Avoid complications.
Any surgery comes with at least some level of risk for complications including postoperative bleeding, infections, range of motion limitations, and hardware malfunction. Working with a physical therapist may help reduce the likelihood of experiencing a complication, which reduces stress, saves money, and protects your short-term and long-term health.
For example, physical therapists are skilled in teaching you safe ways to move and function in your daily life. If your surgeon requests that you follow certain precautions or activity restrictions for a while following your operation, your physical therapist can teach you how to follow these restrictions and progress or modify them appropriately as time goes on.
Physical therapists can also prescribe and fit adaptive equipment such as walkers and braces to further protect your healing tissues and help you mobilize more safely.
Your physical therapist can also act as a supportive liaison between you and your surgeon and keep him or her updated with your progress and needs. This way, if any concerns arise there can be faster communication between all the need-to-know members of your medical team.
3. Manage and decrease pain.
A physical therapist can teach you exercises, provide manual interventions like massage, and implement non-invasive modalities that can work together to alleviate your pain and even reduce your reliance on pain-relieving medications, including opioids.
Many of the interventions we provide in physical therapy work directly on the central nervous system to help modulate pain signals being sent to your brain, while others help reduce inflammation, swelling, and stiffness.
Of course, pain is normal and expected following certain types of procedures, including hip and knee replacements, and taking your pain medication as prescribed can help you participate in your physical therapy more fully. So, it’s important to talk to your doctor about your pain medication options and not to stop or start taking anything without his or her input.
That said, research shows that physical therapy is a safe alternative or beneficial component to effective pain management in the post-surgical window. So be sure to talk to your doctor about setting up a referral to see a physical therapist, too!