You may be wondering whether physical therapy can actually help you heal faster without any prescribed medication – it may sound too good to be true. But whether you have hip, knee, ankle, or neck surgery, if the procedure affects a joint or muscle group, physical therapy can speed up your recovery process exponentially. In many instances, you can start physical therapy as soon as one day after your surgery. US Rehabilitation will be able to customize a treatment plan to help you get back to your daily life much faster.
Benefits of Physical Therapy After Surgery
Physical therapy has many benefits for your recovery process. Let’s go over a few key ones you can keep in mind if you are skeptical about getting more treatment after a surgery.
Improved mobility and flexibility
A common symptom of any surgery involving a joint is stiffness in the area for many weeks after the surgery. In your physical therapy sessions, your therapist will use several different techniques to improve and maintain range of motion even while you are healing.
For example, if you have a knee replacement, that knee will be difficult to bend or straighten for a while. US Rehabilitation will assess your knee at each session, progressing through different treatment techniques and exercises to improve range of motion over time.
After the procedure, the affected muscles usually lose some strength. US Rehabilitation will work with you to improve the strength and stability in the affected area, hopefully without irritation. This is a foundational step toward you getting back to any activity you were doing before.
Ease pain & swelling
Pain, swelling, and stiffness are common after most surgeries. Moving your affected area is the best way to combat post-operative symptoms. US Rehabilitation’s treatment plan should help you move the affected area in a safe way that will optimize your recovery and not hurt the surgery.
Reduce scar tissue
A buildup of scar tissue can affect mobility in the area for many months after surgery. Consistent, safe movement is an effective way to help mitigate this buildup. You will gain your mobility by not allowing that tissue to impede your movement in the first place. Early mobilization is critical for success.
Most importantly, US Rehabilitation will develop a plan to restore your functional movement, whether in sports, work, or activities in daily living. Symptoms like balance deficits and a decrease in gait function are common after surgery, and US Rehabilitation can work these into your treatment plan to decrease fall risk and improve independence. Ultimately, we want to return you to doing the activities you love most.
How Long Will Physical Therapy After Surgery Take?
The length of your treatment can depend on motivation, the location of the surgery, your personal pain threshold, and the time it takes for the soft tissue and bone to heal.
For example, an ACL repair in a knee, although a less invasive procedure, may take longer to return to activity or sport than a knee replacement. This is because your ACL is a prominent and often-used ligament in your leg. It takes much longer to retrain proper knee function to protect the ligament upon returning to sports or activities. The recovery time is different because the goals are different, and an ACL patient will usually be in rehab longer to return to sport.
The average length of a post-op physical therapy regimen may last 8-12 weeks as the soft tissue and bones heal.
During this time, US Rehabilitation will be establishing proper functional movement to facilitate the healing process. Your motivation to participate in home exercise and ability to push yourself can have a significant impact on recovery.