Post-Surgery Recovery and Rehabilitation
For many illnesses and injuries, surgery is often a necessary solution. Depending on the severity of the illness or injury, the surgery recovery process can vary from simple discomfort to debilitating without proper rehabilitation and post-surgery recovery. No matter what your recovery plan looks like, the process is almost always nerve-wracking and not something that most people look forward to.
At Optimal Therapy we think that post-surgery rehabilitation should be well planned and tailored for each patient. When possible, we love to meet with each patient before their surgery to discuss what to expect as well as to start creating a post-surgery physical therapy recovery plan. Having a well defined plan helps to set our patients’ minds at ease and provide them with the confidence of knowing the plan and projected time-table for post-surgery recovery.
No matter what physical therapy techniques and equipment will be used, all of our post-surgery recovery plans include three overarching stages: healing, rehabilitation, and restoration. In the healing stage, we focus on exercises and techniques to help wounds, muscles, joints and bones heal with the goal of getting you well enough for the remaining recovery process. Once you have healed, we work on rehabilitation which focus on returning strength and mobility to the areas affected by the surgery. Finally we focus on restoration which works to allow a patient to return to pre-surgery levels of activity.
No matter the surgery or how far into the process you are, our physical therapy specialists are ready to create a customized, post-surgery recovery plan for you and are available to answer any questions or concerns you might have.
What is Post Surgery Physical Therapy?
Physical therapy has many applications in the recovery and healing process after a major surgery including reducing swelling, regaining strength and range of motion, increasing endurance and more. The overall planning and execution of this type of physical therapy is known as postoperative, or post-surgery, recovery or rehabilitation.
We create individual postoperative plans so that no two are the same, but many of them will take advantage of similar strategies. Each postoperative physical therapy plan begins with a thorough evaluation by one of our specialists to understand not only a patients condition, but to also understand individual goals and considerations. Once a postoperative recovery strategy is created, the physical therapy strategies used can include modalities such as ice, heat and electrical stimulation, strengthening exercises, manual therapy techniques, self-care training and more.
Stages of Post Surgery Recovery
When we create a post-surgery recovery plan for a patient, we like to break the process down into three stages with each stage focused on a specific goal and milestones of your postoperative recovery. The stages we consider in our postoperative rehabilitation programs are:
Stage 1: Healing
Healing begins immediately following surgery and is the first stage of any post-surgery recovery. Depending on the surgery you have experienced, there can be many side effects from the surgery including immobility, damaged muscles, extensive swelling and bruising just to name a few. As our body’s natural healing process begins, swelling will start to go down and the initial pain from the surgery will subside.
Stage 2: Rehabilitation
After your body has had some time to heal, the real work begins! At Optimal Therapy our physical therapists will work with you to designed a specific post-surgery recovery plan with your body and goals in mind. During rehabilitation we focus on strengthening your body through utilizing progressive exercises that will help restore your range of motion and improve your overall stability after a recent surgery.
Stage 3: Restoration
As a patient progresses through an Optimal Therapy post-surgery recovery plan, they will reach a point with time that they are able to return to normal, pre-surgery levels of activity. This level of physical activity can look different for everyone and is why we feel that it is so crucial to design a plan around a specific patients needs. Helping our patients achieve the same level of activity is the ultimate goal of postoperative rehabilitation, and physical therapy as a whole.
Benefits to Post Surgery Physical Therapy
Many times a surgery can leave you feeling debilitated and can lead to long stretches at home where patients lead a mostly sedentary lifestyle. This is one of the worst things for your post-surgery recovery and is not good for a patients mental well being either. Physical therapy after surgery not only helps you physically recovery, but also helps to get you out of the house, back into the world, and being social again.
There are several benefits to going through post surgery recovery with a physical therapist at Optimal Therapy including:
- Proper healing and faster recovery time.
- Regain mobility
- Patient participation, setting goals, and meeting functional needs.
- Helps with circulation after surgery, preventing blood clots.
- Posture, balance, and coordination improvement and training.
- Gait analysis and training.
- Self-care training.
- Manual therapy techniques.
- Home exercise instruction.
- Pain control and management.
- Improves flexibility.
- Reduced risk for postoperative pulmonary complications (PCCs)
Find out more on our Preoperative Physical Therapy page.