Post Surgical Pain and Rehab
July 13, 2021
What is it?
It is best to try physical therapy before having surgery. In some case, surgery cannot be avoided, and physical therapists are here to help. Often physical therapists will work with patients following surgeries including rotator cuff repair, joint replacements, scopes, and any other surgery that disrupts the musculoskeletal system. Physical therapy is commonly used to help get you back on your feet after surgeries.
Information and causes?
Typically, surgeries such as knee replacements take place to improve joint pain and function after other measures have no longer helped.
Surgeries can heal on their own without a physical therapist. However, the outcomes will not be as successful. For instance, after a knee replacement, it is typical for the body to respond with compensations during activities such as walking, this can continue even after removal of crutches. A physical therapist will be there to guide you as you learn to walk again (correctly!)
The signs and symptoms?
The signs and symptoms following surgery can vary. Here is a list of the most common symptoms:
- Pain in the surgical area or other areas due to overcompensating
- Swelling and bruising
- Difficulty walking
- Difficulty performing usual activities
- Scar healing at the incision site
It is key that a person receive physical therapy shortly after surgery to restore strength and mobility early on. The Physical Therapist will initially focus on educating the patient about the surgery and expectations. Research shows that people who are knowledgeable about their condition have better coping abilities. Furthermore, your therapist will work to initially decrease pain and improve mobility and gradually improve strength and function to return to life pain free and with full function. The physical therapist will design a program that is right for you and your goals.
At your first visit you should expect a physical therapist that is there to get to know you, your current complaints, and your goals. Using this information and the information they gather during their evaluation they will set up an individualized treatment plan that will help you reach your goals and get back to your life faster. Treatments could include modalities for pain control, manual therapy to help relieve muscle tension and promote healing, exercises to restore strength and motion, and muscular retraining to improve core activation and stabilization.