Surgery is one of the most difficult things our body can go through. Some surgeries are straightforward and not too taxing on the body, but most surgeries that we see in physical therapy will put considerable stress on your body and mind. Surgeons or their assistants will typically go over rehabilitation options and timeframes with you before or directly after surgery. The problem with this is that you are in a highly stressful environment and are unlikely to remember everything. Usually the surgical office will send you home with a protocol for rehabilitation outlining precautions and a timeframe for starting certain activities. Some offices will not do this and just tell you to go to physical therapy. There will likely be some medical jargon on the protocols that you will not understand, fear not. We will understand what your surgeon wants or if you end up in PT without a protocol we will know what to do. Seeing hundreds of surgery patients a year we have seen all of the most common surgeries and most of the uncommon orthopedic surgeries as well. In the rare case that we would not be familiar with a particular surgery we would call the surgical office to learn of any abnormal precautions and develop a plan of care.
Early surgical recovery is aimed at improving your mobility and pain while allowing the tissues to heal. This usually involves some sort of passive range of motion or someone else moving your joints through their available range of motion. The amount of your range of motion early on will likely be limited more by surgical precautions than pain. This is progressed later to you helping the therapist move your joints, or active assisted range of motion. Later this is progressed to active range of motion, or you moving your joints through their available range of motion. When your tissues are ready to be stressed, strengthening and functional movements will be added. You need to let the tissues heal appropriately before stressing them or you risk damaging the tissues and your recovery. Strengthening may come early or may come months after surgery depending on what the surgery was. Throughout the process there will be a home exercise plan that you will need to perform on your own in order to facilitate the quickest most painfree return to normal daily life. Your therapist will guide you through this based off of necessary surgical precautions and tissue healing time.
We try to make the surgical recovery process as easy and fun as possible. We will do our best to educate you on the surgery, recovery, timeframes, precautions, and anything else you may have questions about. Please call us if you have questions and/or are thinking about having your physical therapy for your surgery with us.
PS-Your diet can affect your recovery as well. Please read our guest blog about recovery from injury by Dietician Andrew Dole. http://www.atlasptco.com/blog/Nutrition-for-Injuries~520.html