Physical Therapy After Surgery

March 10th, 2021

Although we may not realize it, any kind of major surgery is a serious life decision. Surgery can leave patients in pain, weak, bed bound, and even depressed. It is important to recover quickly and successfully so that you can resume all the activities you enjoy. Doctors, patients, and scientific research are proving that physical therapy is one of the most important parts of a successful surgery.

What Are Common Surgical Procedures at Require Physical Therapy?

  • Joint Replacement Surgery: This is an orthopedic surgery in which an arthritic or dysfunctional joint surface is replaced with an orthopedic prosthesis. This is common for hip, knee, and shoulder joints.
  • Cervical/Lumbar (Back) Discectomy and Fusion: A discectomy involves removing a damaged disc to relieve the spinal cord or nerve root impingement. A fusion surgery  is done at the same time as the discectomy in order to stabilize the cervical segment. A fusion involves placing bone graft and/or implants where the disc originally was
  • ACL and Meniscus Repair: An anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction is a surgical tissue graft replacement of the anterior cruciate ligament, located in the knee, to restore its function after an injury. 
  • Heart Attack/Bypass Graft Surgery: A bypass graft surgery is a procedure used to treat coronary artery disease in order to help the blood vessels supply oxygen and nutrients to the heart

What Should I Expect From Physical Therapy After Surgery?

Most doctors are now recommending that physical therapy start immediately after surgery. Physical therapy will typically begin with manual therapy to assist with pain alleviation followed by range of motion and strengthening exercises. A physical therapist will safely progress your exercises until you achieve full motion and function. Here is what to expect from physical therapy.

  • Education on the recovery process and HEP (home exercise program)
  • Create an individualized treatment plan based on surgery protocols and prior level of function
  • Help decrease pain, swelling, joint stiffness, muscle spasms
  • Improve scar tissue mobility and stiffness
  • Strengthen the proper muscle groups and improve muscle atrophy
  • Maintain range of motion and function of surrounding joints
  • Resume the activities you love without pain or limitations. 

Do I Need Physical Therapy After Surgery?

A study done by the National Institute of Health (NIH) confirms that high quality physical therapy is an essential part of surgery rehabilitation. Physical therapy can help you recover faster and get back to activities of daily living required for a healthy life.

If you are thinking about having surgery or if you just had a major surgery, Respire Physical Therapy can help provide you maximal recovery. Call us today at 703-671-1871 to schedule an appointment with a physical therapist!

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