How Physical Therapy Can Help You Pre- & Post-Surgery

Being scheduled for any form of surgical procedure can feel daunting. Your mind goes rushing into the worst-case scenarios, mainly because there is so much to consider. 

As modern humans, we seem programmed to panic about anything that takes place in a hospital. 

You’ve got to find the right surgeon from the right office, talk things through with your nearest and dearest, prepare the house for your absence, seek out pet sitters, organize childcare, arrange cover at work – the list is endless! 

But what about preparing yourself? How can you go about preparing your body, and then helping your body post-surgery? 

That’s where physical therapy comes in. 

In fact, we’d encourage you to put a pre-surgery, and post-surgery, plan in place. Your surgeon may even recommend it – especially if the surgery is on your hip, ankle, neck, wrist, spine, foot, shoulder, or other bones or joints in the body. 

Using physical therapy to construct a plan will not only provide peace of mind, but an appropriate plan will also quicken the healing process, and get you back on your feet.

What Are The Benefits of Physical Therapy?

physical therapy for pre op

Physical Therapy effectively increases movement and overall mobility. It reduces inflammation and pain, and also helps make you stronger with more efficiency than any other treatment. 

How so? Well, when we have surgery, our muscles and tissues tense up and become tight. And that’s not just in the area where you underwent surgery, either. As your muscles form a taut network across your frame, all of your muscles can be affected. And that’s because everything is connected. 

As this tightness across the muscles intensifies, it causes a buildup of tension and stress, placing restrictions upon your nervous system and blood vessels.

In turn, this leads to a restriction of movement, and can cause serious discomfort, inflammation, chronic pain, and a halt to daily life. 

Aside from these benefits, physical therapy can specifically help improve your flexibility, range of motion, and mobility.

Meanwhile, our treatments aid in relaxing your nervous system, improving your blood flow and reducing the physical effects of anxiety and stress. 

Physical therapy goes even further than that, and improves your well-being; moving you closer to optimal health.

How Does Physical Therapy Help Before Surgery?

So you are booked in for surgery. Don’t let it panic you. Speak with a physical therapist by booking one of our Discovery sessions. Consulting with us will help you start preparing your body for surgery, and then planning the best options for your rehabilitation. 

It may sound excessive to see us both before and after your surgical date, but trust us – it’s hugely beneficial. You will recover faster, and with more confidence. 

You may have heard the term pre-habilitation (or prehab) bandied about. That’s exactly what we have here. By definition, prehab is a form of multidisciplinary healthcare intervention aiming to dampen the side effects of medical or surgical intervention. Prehab helps you prepare mentally and physically for the surgery.

So, how can we help? 

Firstly, we’ll want to get to know a bit about you. Well, we say “a bit”, but we will actually conduct a deep dive into your unique situation to develop a detailed evaluation of your current physical condition and also your medical history. 

By looking into your medical history, we will be able to note any physical restrictions, limitations, or boundaries that you may have. After that, we can create a customized Surgical Preparation Program, alongside a Surgical Recovery Program.

Our previous clients have often pointed out their significant concern in regards to the recovery process, alongside “downtime” post-surgery. Especially for those who were undergoing a surgical procedure for a complete joint replacement. 

It remains well known that recovery from major surgery can be a long, slow, and uncomfortable process. Because of that preconception, and a subsequent fear of lengthy rehabilitation periods, people instead turn away from surgery; opting to suffer in silence instead. 

Yet, that’s suffering for no reason. By working with the physical therapists at Intecore PT, we can significantly improve this recovery time. Not by working miracles, but by helping your body, muscles, and tissues to reside in a strong position before entering the surgical theater. 

Our team works directly with your surgeon’s recommendations, and the benefits are wide-ranging. As we will now demonstrate. 

Benefits Of Prehab 

Feeling anxious about surgery? Don’t sweat it. Everybody does. But physical therapy and prehab can certainly help lower the levels of anxiety. Even just the suggestion of surgery can cause stress and fear before the procedure takes place. 

If you are looking for something to help counteract all that intensity and stress, then studies have proven that individuals who opt for pre-surgery sessions of physical therapy display lower levels of anxiety as the surgery date draws closer.

By helping to relieve stress and prevent tension from being placed on the nervous system, your mental health and readiness for surgery will be very strong indeed. 

We’ve already mentioned the ability to recover faster when going for sessions with a physical therapist, but it’s a point that I’ll happily reiterate.

By addressing the tensions in your muscles and the domino-like effect that has on your body, there is an increased amount of blood, oxygen, and lymph circulation throughout your body. 

This improves drainage following your surgery, and helps to reduce swelling and associated pain/discomfort. Therefore, wounds heal faster. And everybody can benefit from that! 

Furthermore, by engaging in a pre-surgery course of physical therapy, you lower the risk of complications post-surgery. The majority of the focus of pre-surgical programs is set on improving the range of motion and flexibility that your muscles have. 

The benefit of that? It makes any form of surgical incision easier, and less damaging to your body. Not to mention an easier fitment of hardware (pacemaker etc.) or devices. 

How Does Physical Therapy Help After Surgery?

Just as we’ve explained about pre-surgical therapy, the same applies to post-surgical therapy.

By working with a physical therapist after your surgery has been completed, and you’ve been discharged from the hospital, you’ll help yourself to get back on your feet safely and efficiently. 

You’ll regain improved stamina, a better range of motion, better strength, extra mobility, and greater flexibility.

We wouldn’t recommend delaying your start with a physical therapist, either. It’s easy to put a start date off, but you are best to commence treatment as soon as you are cleared to begin working with us. 

By tackling your post-surgery treatment straight away, you will be better aided in the healing process, especially if you’ve just had a joint replacement. We can help prevent scar tissue and its appearance on the body. 

We can also prevent and control persistent pain following surgery, as we address the body as a whole. 

We Can Then Help you Stay Fit 

After you’ve had surgery, it can be hard to get back into the active life that you once had. Your energy levels will fluctuate, your motivation may suffer, and there is a real danger that you could plunge into depression. 

That’s where we can help. Whether you jogged two miles after work prior to your surgery, enjoyed contact sports, couldn’t get enough golf, or loved cycling, we can assist you in getting back to the lifestyle you enjoyed pre-surgery. 

The clinics of Intecore Physical Therapy – based in Bremerton, Belfair, and Paulsbo – are outpatient orthopedic and sports medicine rehabilitation centers.

Our staff are committed to providing the highest quality physical therapy care for our patients – and that means you!

Whether you are an athlete that wants to be able to play a sport again; a parent that wants to be able to pick up their child; or a retiree that wants to be able to garden; our physical therapy team will not rest until you are comfortable in your own skin, and able to get back on life’s track.

Our physical therapists can provide pre-operative, and post-operative services. Not only that, but the Intecore team also offers non-operative therapy for injuries that are a result of work, trauma, or overuse.

Gone too hard at the soccer match? Twisted your back doing the heavy lifting at work? You can count on us to help undo the damage. 

Intecore’s focus is to provide pain relief through an extensive physical therapy evaluation (as we’ve mentioned earlier in the article), manual therapy techniques, therapeutic exercise, and patient education. 

That doesn’t mean that we’ll give you a diploma, but you’ll be taught how to take better care of your body and ensure that you remain safe outside our clinic.

With the correct knowledge, you’ll successfully work with us to return to full function and enhance your quality of life.

Our mission? We always focus on the individual patient, not just the pain.

Don’t suffer in silence. Reach out and speak to us. We are not here to judge; we are here to help. 

Don’t develop anxiety and delve into the online horror show that Dr Google can offer. Your surgery is going ahead for the benefit of your health, and we’ll be there on each side of the procedure to keep you fit, healthy, and safe. 

Contact us through our booking form. Let’s do this together! 

Andrew Vertson