Every year, our physical therapy team meets thousands of individuals recovering from surgery. Whether you’re undergoing a joint replacement, a back surgery, or some other procedure, we’re confident that working with a physical therapist can help you heal up and get back to your active lifestyle as efficiently and safely as possible.
Curious about why physical therapy is so important in the post-surgical window? We’ve got three reasons to pique your interest.
1. Control and minimize your 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!
2. Reduce the risk of complications.
Any surgery comes with at least some level of risk for complications including post-operative 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. Accelerate 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. And 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.
It’s never too early to start seeing a physical therapist! Contact Sports Care PT today to schedule an appointment for your post-surgical rehabilitation.