What Kind of Rehabilitation Do do You need Post-Surgery?
Your real healing and return to function begin once your surgery is over and rehab begins. Initial rehabilitation involves recovering from anesthesia and the immediate trauma of surgery. Then, you need to focus on learning how to do simple tasks, such as getting dressed and caring for yourself. Over time, you’ll learn how to move and strengthen the muscles around the joint that underwent surgery. The exact rehab therapies you undergo following surgery depend on the goals of your surgery, the area treated, and your body’s personal healing capacity.
Goals of rehabilitation
Your primary goal of rehabilitation is to restore as much normal function as possible. That means improving movement and range of motion at the joint which was surgically addressed. You’ll also need to strengthen the muscles around the joint to provide it with optimal support. Minimizing pain is also a key goal post-surgery.
Right after surgery, the team at Barrington Orthopedics may offer rehab in the form of simple wound care management and getting you up and moving as soon as possible. They’ll offer recommendations as to how to reduce scarring and post-surgical swelling. Braces, splints, and specialized bandaging are also key in the first stages of rehab.
Often, you’ll be assigned to a CPM – or continuous passive motion machine. This device moves the affected joint while you remain in bed. This keeps your blood flowing and discourages swelling. It’s often used for knee surgeries.
Returning to function
You’ll be encouraged to move your joints soon after surgery. This helps you regain strength, discourage atrophy, and promote healing. Post-surgery rehab may also include a Back-to-Function rehab seminar. This interactive session helps you learn how to manage daily tasks, perform work responsibilities, and undergo a fitness routine to support healing and optimal health.
At this seminar, the therapist explains proper body mechanics – including spine anatomy and posture – as well as proper lifting techniques. You’ll also learn flexibility exercises for your spine, arms, and legs to support healthy function well after your surgery has healed.
Physical therapy is key in helping devise a program of exercises that you can do in office, and at home, to improve your strength and range of motion. You may need to learn new patterns of movement to help healing and prevent recurrence of joint pain.
The therapists at Barrington Orthopedics may use state-of-the-art modalities, including ultrasound and electrical stimulation, to help your rehab process once the initial surgical site has healed.
Prior to your surgery, it’s a good idea to prep your home for your rehab period. Since your movements will likely be compromised, place important items within easy reach. Prep some meals or enlist cooking help from friends and family. Make sure your bathroom, sitting areas, bedroom, and kitchen are accessible if you’re on crutches or have a walker.
Surgery can help you regain function in failing joints, but it comes with considerable healing time. Rehabilitation in the hours, days, and weeks post-surgery can make all the difference in your outcome and return to a normal, healthy life.