Breaking Down the Relationship Between Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Services
Undergoing surgery can feel like taking one step back to move two steps forward. Typically, surgery is used as a last resort to treat an issue that isn’t responding to less invasive forms of treatment. Although surgery is intended to permanently relieve a persistent issue, such as joint pain or a joint injury, it also requires plenty of post-op work from the patient.
Post-surgical rehabilitation, often involving physical therapy, plays a pivotal role in restoring mobility, function, and overall quality of life. In this blog, we’ll explore the relationship between physical therapy and rehabilitation and how it helps patients regain their independence and well-being.
Understanding Post-Surgical Rehabilitation
Post-surgical rehabilitation is a program designed to assist patients during their recovery after surgery. This rehabilitation process is structured around the specific individual, taking into account their procedure, age, overall health, medications, and any pre-existing conditions. Physical therapy and rehabilitation services are meant to promote the healing process while helping the patient build their strength and mobility.
What Does Physical Therapy Accomplish for Orthopedic Rehabilitation Recovery?
Physical therapy is a cornerstone of post-surgical rehabilitation, offering a wide range of benefits for patients on the road to recovery. It can include:
- Pain management: Pain and discomfort is a normal side-effect of surgery, especially if the surgery is open rather than arthroscopic. Larger incisions lead to longer recovery times. Regardless of surgery type, physical therapists can employ numerous helpful techniques that will help alleviate pain and improve patient comfort using holistic methods.
- Mobilization and range of motion: Patients who have undergone surgery typically don’t want to move the area in question. However, encouraging mobilization is one of the key functions of a physical therapist, which helps patients regain the ability to move safely after surgery. This reduces the risk of medical complications like blood clots and muscular atrophy. Physical therapists also work on restoring range of motion through targeted exercises and stretching routines.
- Strengthening muscles and improving balance: Muscle weakness and balance issues often accompany surgery. Physical therapy programs include training exercises that gradually rebuild muscle strength and help restore coordination.
- Preventing scar tissue formation: The scar tissue that forms within a joint can hinder function and mobility and may even lead to experiencing chronic pain. When using the correct regiment of physical therapy and rehabilitation, scar tissue can be mitigated.
- Assistive device training: Post surgery, some patients will need to use an assistive device for the sake of mobility and keeping their full weight off the joint that’s in recovery. For patients who require crutches, canes, or walkers post-surgery, physical therapists provide training on their proper use to ensure safety and mobility. Physical therapy has proven beneficial in helping patients prevent reaggravating their injury.
- Customized treatment plans: Physical therapists tailor their treatment plans to each patient’s unique physical needs and goals, ensuring the most effective and efficient rehabilitation. If they notice that something changes about the patient’s condition, they will amend their treatment and physical therapy regimen to accommodate them.
- Patient education: Physical therapists educate patients about their conditions, what to expect after a surgical procedure, and how specific exercises benefit them. This keeps patients and their physical therapists on the same page with their treatment plan.
- Support and motivation: Sometimes patients can lose faith in the process or themselves. Physical therapists provide encouragement and guidance to help patients stay committed to their recovery and maintain a positive outlook.
Taking Advantage of the Benefits of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation
There are numerous benefits of incorporating physical therapy and rehabilitation services into post-surgical rehabilitation in both the short- and long-term, including:
- Faster recovery times
- Pain management and reduction
- Improved function, strength, and mobility
- Lower risk of complications and infections
Physical therapy is an invaluable component of post-surgical rehabilitation that empowers patients to regain their independence. If you or a loved one is preparing for or recovering from surgery, consider the essential role that physical therapy can play in the journey toward better health and well-being. Typically, your orthopedic surgeon or doctor will refer you over to a physical therapist who can take over post-surgery.
At Mid-America Orthopedics, we have an entire department of our practice dedicated to physical therapy and rehabilitation. This ensures that our patients get the full continuum of care they need after undergoing a surgery.