If orthopedic surgery could be in your future, you probably know physical therapy will be part of your recovery. However, you might also undergo prehabilitation before surgery as well as rehabilitation after your surgery.
Prehabilitation may not be suitable if you have an injury and need surgery without delay, but prehab might help a routine knee or hip replacement. Here's how prehabilitation with a physical therapist can be helpful.
You'll Strengthen Important Muscles
You'll learn exercises that help speed your recovery. If you have weak muscles now, your muscles will probably be even weaker after you've had surgery, and that could delay your recovery. By boosting your muscles, improving flexibility, and increasing range of motion before you have surgery, you'll start your recovery period in better shape than if you don't go through prehab.
You Learn Moves You'll Do After Surgery
When you're in pain and weak after surgery, the last thing you may feel like doing is following instructions from a physical therapist to learn new exercises. When you go through prehabilitation, you learn all the exercises you'll do after surgery so you're comfortable with them and understand what you need to do. You may not be at the same level as before your surgery, but you'll at least know what to expect.
You're Assessed For Equipment Needs
Your physical therapist works with you based on your individual circumstances. If you were normally sedentary, you won't be in the same shape as if you were active before your surgery. Whether you were sedentary or not, you may need special equipment after your surgery. If you'll need a walker or crutches, the physical therapist can fit you for them and help you get used to using them so you don't have to learn when you may be unsteady or weak.
You Can Learn What To Expect After Surgery
Having orthopedic surgery can be concerning, especially if you don't know what to expect. Your doctor will explain the surgical procedure to you, but your physical therapist can help you understand the recovery process and how you might progress considering your limitations. By undergoing prehab and working with the therapist for a few weeks before your surgery, you may be more at ease when the time comes for your surgery and the recovery process that follows.
Prehab usually doesn't last too long. You might see the physical therapist a few times a week for a few weeks. It might even be possible to take your sessions online so you can avoid a trip to the clinic before your surgery. Even though you may only work with a physical therapist a couple of times a week, you should keep up with doing the exercises on your own at home as you're instructed so you're in the best shape possible for your surgery.
To learn more, reach out to a local physical therapist.