Physical therapy is an essential part of the recovery process following most types of surgery. It can help patients regain their strength, mobility, and independence. Unfortunately, many patients overlook the importance of post-surgical physical therapy and either don’t give it “their all” or skip it altogether. However, these patients risk prolonging their recovery time, causing themselves further injury, and/or reducing their overall quality of life.
Remaining sedentary after most surgical procedures tends to be frowned upon, as activity promotes healing. Even after major surgeries affecting mobility – such as knee and hip replacements – patients are encouraged to get up and walk (with assistance!) as soon as possible and to remain as active as they comfortably can. However, patients who start doing too much too soon and without taking the proper precautions or using the appropriate techniques may find themselves with a worse – or new – injury.
To avoid these pitfalls, patients need to work closely with their healthcare team to develop a post-surgical plan tailored to their specific needs and goals.
Here are the top five reasons why post-surgical physical therapy should not be skipped:
Reduces Pain and Swelling
For most patients, surgery typically causes pain and swelling in the affected area, limiting a patient’s range of motion and ability to perform daily activities. Physical therapy helps reduce pain and swelling through exercises, stretches, and manual therapy techniques, which can result in increased patient comfort during the recovery process. The more comfortable patients are throughout their recovery, the less likely they are to incur additional injuries by pushing themselves too hard or improperly using their damaged muscles.
Restores Function and Mobility
Most patients have undergone surgery to improve their quality of life in some way. The surgical process can initially put a damper on this, but proper post-surgical physical therapy can help patients regain their range of motion and strength, which will then allow them to perform daily activities, such as walking, lifting, and reaching. Ultimately, the quicker patients can regain their range of motion and strength, the quicker they’ll get to enjoy their improved quality of life.
Physical therapy promotes circulation, which has many essential benefits for post-surgical patients. To start, it improves immune function, which is critical for warding off infections at a time when the immune system is compromised. It also helps prevent serious – potentially life-threatening – complications such as blood clots while boosting blood flow to increase muscle strength and prevent further injury.
Speeds Up Recovery Time
Physical therapy can help speed the recovery process by promoting healing, reducing pain, and restoring function. The more an individual can move around comfortably, the more likely their body will continue – and even boost – its natural healing processes.
Improves Long-Term Outcomes
Post-surgical physical therapy can help improve long-term outcomes by promoting healing and preventing future injuries. It can also help patients develop healthy habits, such as regular exercise and proper posture, which can help prevent future injuries or health problems.
To learn more about how Dosher Physical Therapy can help you recover from surgery with physical therapy, call us today.