You have finally come to the decision with your physician that an orthopedic surgery is in your future. You have a solid line up of Netflix shows in queue, and the refrigerator is stocked with all the snacks and icepacks you’ll be needing during recovery. After scheduling time off of work, researched all the possible outcomes, finally the surgery date is set.
Despite all of that preparation and excitement of soon being pain free, is an undercurrent of anxiety and fear as the surgery approaches. You have many unanswered questions and are worried about what the rehabilitation process will entail.
Those feelings of uncertainty are completely normal! Whether you’ve been through an orthopedic surgery before or this is a new experience for you, surgery can be a nerve wracking experience. Beginning your rehabilitation before surgery is a great way to ease your presurgical anxiety and set yourself up for the best recovery post-surgery!
We call this process Prehabilitation or “Prehab”.
Unlike traditional preventative rehab which aims to restore function following a health challenge, prehab is training the body in anticipation of the challenges to come. It’s an opportunity to become acquainted with the office and get comfortable with the rehab team that will be guiding you through the rehabilitation process. When your therapist understands your unique case and long-term goals they will be able to better prepare you for surgery and fly through the restoration period.
What are the benefits to Prehabilitation?
- Knowing what to expect
Every operation is different and everyone responds differently to pain, medications, and getting moving after surgery. Your physical therapist has the unique experience of having seen many people who’ve been through a similar experience as you. Your therapist can provide you with a significant amount of insight, from what to expect right after surgery to what your long-term physical performance may be. We are experts in leading a safe rehab process that will help you build your confidence right after surgery.
- Physical Preparation
Perhaps the most important benefit of pre-operative Physical Therapy is the physical preparation for what is to come. Your therapist will assess your strength and mobility and provide you with recommendations to elevate those before surgery. Giving your body an indication of the work to come is one of the best ways you can prepare for surgery.
- Improving Post-Op Outcomes
Improving flexibility, strength and endurance has been shown to reduce the need for inpatient rehabilitation, reduce the risk of infections, and limit surgical complications. One recent study found that Physical Therapy before surgery decreased the use of post-surgical services by 29%. A real cost savings! Other research has shown that athletes who undergo some level of pre-operative Physical Therapy are able to return to their sport more quickly than those who do not.
Prehabilitation is becoming the standard of care for many orthopedic surgeries because of its distinct benefits. Whether your post-surgical goal is to participate in competitive sports or just be able to walk pain-free, Physical Therapy before and after surgery will be a key part of achieving your goals.
If you are in the process of scheduling an elective surgery let Advanced Training and Rehabilitation help you prepare.
Talk with your orthopedic surgeon about a Physical Therapy assessment before surgery!
Author: Danielle Leonard, PT DPT
To schedule an appointment with one of our specialists call a location near you today!