Postoperative rehabilitation is the critical process of rebuilding muscular strength, joint mobility, full joint movement, and full body strength and capability through physiotherapy sessions and exercises. This is conducted following surgical intervention. Post-operative physical therapy can range from one month to a year, depending on the nature of the surgery and the extent of the patient’s impairments.
After major surgeries like those performed on the spine, the heart, or the chest (such as those performed to reduce the risk of cancer), patients are required to participate in rehabilitation programmes. Medical practitioners routinely advise patients to take part in pre-surgery physiotherapy since it has been demonstrated to speed post-operative healing, improve joint mobility, and lessen swelling after injury. Let’s look at four key benefits of post-surgical physiotherapy.
- Pain management and reduction in swelling
- Scar tissue reduction
- Improving flexibility, balance, mobility and strength
- Avoiding complications
Pain management and reduction in swelling
As you begin the process of recovering from surgery, it is almost certain that you will go through at least some degree of pain. This is to be expected. Joint pain and stiffness can be alleviated, and your recovery can be sped up, if you engage in safe early joint and tissue mobilisation and loading under the direction of your physiotherapist.
In the immediate aftermath of surgery, it is highly possible that you may have swelling in the localised region surrounding the surgical incision. If this oedema is not properly controlled, it can frequently spread lower into the hand or the ankle, producing pain and restricting function. Your physiotherapist will work to reduce the size of the swelling as much as possible so that it does not slow down your recovery and prevent you from returning to full function. Advice on the use of cold packs, soft tissue manipulation, early joint mobilisation and strapping could be included in this category.
Scar tissue reduction
After surgery, your body will go through its normal process of tissue repair, which will assist the area surrounding the site of your operation in the process of healing. Physiotherapy will assist in optimising this situation and lowering the risk of consequences by introducing the proper amount of movement at the most optimal times. In order to keep your tissues from becoming restricted in their movement after surgery, it is essential to reduce the likelihood of developing an excessive amount of scar tissue. Scar tissue can be made more pliable and patients can regain their normal range of motion with the use of several forms of tissue mobilisation procedures, such as massage which are performed by physical therapists.
Improving flexibility, balance, mobility and strength
A reduction of mobility in the affected area or body part is a potential side effect of surgery. The body’s normal reaction to trauma is to protect the injured area, which can result in constriction of the surrounding muscles and tissues, swelling, spasms, and a restricted range of motion. Patients can benefit from physical therapy by engaging in movement, engaging in strengthening exercises, receiving myofascial release, and participating in other manual treatments. In addition, doing exercises that strengthen the muscles in the core, back, and pelvis can increase stability and improve balance, both of which can be of significant assistance in the recovery process following procedures such as knee or hip replacement.
Orthopaedic surgical treatments, regardless of whether they are intended to target a muscle, will inadvertently affect the tissue of muscles. Your typical dynamics, coordination, and stability can be restored with the help of timely and cautious muscle activation exercises in conjunction with gradual strengthening performed at the appropriate time after surgery. This will assist in restoring your function in the shortest amount of time.
When we make changes to the way we move as a result of an accident, chronic pain, or surgery, it will almost always have a detrimental effect on balance and joint coordination. Your physiotherapist will focus on improving your general balance and coordination in addition to your local joint control. This is done to guarantee that your local joint control is optimised, which will ultimately lead to an improvement in your longer-term function.
There is substantial evidence to suggest that prompt ambulation of the body and a localised joint can encourage circulation, which in turn can lower the chance of medical complications such as deep vein thrombosis developing. Because of this, you will likely be able to leave the hospital sooner, which will lower your likelihood of contracting an infection during your stay. Early mobilisation, within the safe constraints specified by your doctors, will not only assist in restoring your everyday function as quickly as possible, but it will also enhance the overall long-term result of the surgery. After surgery, working with a physical therapist to perform specific movement exercises will assist to reduce the likelihood of complications such as infection, contractures, and blood clots.
Don’t just recover, Transcend
With a team of health professionals and vast experience in physiotherapy and exercise physiology, Transcend help is the perfect post-operative partner to help you on your journey to recovery after surgery. We’ll take the time to understand your condition and work with you to deliver the best possible rehabilitation. If you’re due for surgery or think your recovery routine could be improved, we are here for you. To find out more call us on 02 4961 3399 or lodge an enquiry using our online portal.