Why physical therapy, after an injury or surgery, is a must and not an option!

If you want your body to be as strong as it was before an injury, then every injury from a torn ACL to sprained ankle must come packaged with physical therapy.  A consistent rehab program is essential for active people who want to return stronger than before the injury.

After an injury occurs, the body has physiological processes that cause swelling which leads to pain, stiffness, and decreased muscle activation.  When these natural changes occur, it takes time for the body to heal, but with patience and physical therapy these changes can be lessened.

The first few days after an injury or surgery are rough, but it is just the start of a long road to return to “normal” activities.  The best person to help navigate this trek is your physical therapist.

In the initial few days (or weeks) after injury or surgery your physical therapist will focus on restoring the range of motion, reactivating weak muscles, and decreasing the normal inflammatory process.  The recovery process is in phases, that are based on the natural healing of the body to return to normal function, and this is the first phase.

The next phase of rehabilitation is to work on building endurance of the tissues and increasing muscular strength.  You can’t change Mother Nature and she will make sure you know that after an injury.  A typical physical therapy regimen will consist of therapy visits 2 to 3 times per week to focus on muscle strength and joint stability.  While it might naturally take 9 to 12 months to fully heal, your physical therapy visits won’t last that long.

The last phase of physical therapy will focus on your return to full function.  You don’t have to be an athlete to return to function as this can be the smallest of activities from walking up stairs to running a marathon.  Your physical therapist is the specialist to return you, and your body, to tip top functional condition.  Think of your physical therapist as the “mechanic” of your body!

Physical therapy is a very important, yet commonly under looked, aspect of recovery from injury or surgery.  Physical therapy has been shown to lessen the time to full recovery with less deficits with normal, daily, activities.  Physical therapists are the health care specialists who are education on function and movement and they should be part of your overall health and wellness team.

Do you know if someone who suffered an ankle sprain or low back strain and is struggling to get back to normal?  Send them this blog and tell them to click here to schedule their physical therapy!

Andrew Vertson