You’ve had the surgery. You’ve made it through the first few days post-op. Now what?
Recovery after surgery is different for everyone. But one thing is certain across the board – physical therapy is a great tool to use when recovering from surgery.
Keep reading to learn how physical therapy exercises can speed up your recovery.
Movement is Critical to Recovery
After surgery, your doctor will likely prescribe some time for you to rest and heal. But when that time has passed, it’s best to get back on your feet and get moving as soon as possible. Lack of movement during the post-surgical phase can lead to a loss of muscle mass, decreases in heart and lung capacity, and an increased risk of complications.
Blood contains nutrients and brings fresh oxygen to the tissues. Increasing blood flow through a supervised physical therapy program helps keep your heart, lungs, and muscles in better shape. Exercise helps the actual surgical site heal quicker by delivering vital nutrients to the tissues.
Another important aspect of recovery is mental health. The inability to move following surgery can have a big impact on your emotions and can lead to further issues like depression and insomnia. Safe exercises, done under the care of a physical therapist, release endorphins that make you feel better and help you deal with the stress of surgery.
Strengthen, Stretch, and Balance
Strength training is a great way to bring more blood and oxygen to the tissues around the surgical site. The physical therapist will often utilize exercise machines and other tools, like crutches and braces, to ensure you’re properly supported while you build strength. And strengthening the core muscles – the muscles of the abdomen and back – provides better stability and reduces the risk of future injuries.
Targeted stretching exercises help relieve pain from tense muscles and also help with blood flow. Stretching increases range of motion in your joints which improves overall mobility. It’s important to follow the therapist’s guidelines when stretching to ensure you don’t overextend or tear the surgical site.
A physical therapist can also help improve balance. We might not realize it, but balance is so important for keeping us safe and injury-free after surgery. Falls are one of the top causes of injury in seniors. By doing balance exercises in both the seated and standing position, you can improve strength and flexibility, which can help prevent falls.
If you’re experiencing pain around the surgery site, physical therapy may be able to help. Therapists provide other treatment options including ultrasound and massage therapy. These treatments, combined with strength training and stretching, can provide physical pain relief to those areas.
Your body produces endorphins when you exercise and those endorphins may also help reduce pain. They work similarly to the way many powerful pain medications work to block pain signals from the body. The best way to get your endorphins up after surgery is to increase activity levels and physical therapy is the best way to do that safely.
Who Can Benefit Physical Therapy Exercises After Surgery?
Are you wondering if you’d be a good candidate for physical therapy exercises after surgery? Talk to your doctor about physical therapy any time you have surgery.
It’s a great option if you’ve had any kind of knee, hip, or shoulder surgery, including replacements. Physical therapy can also be helpful for back surgery or surgery on your hands or feet – some of the most difficult surgeries to recover from.
At St. William’s, we have a brand-new, state-of-the-art physical therapy treatment room. We can provide you the care you need while you’re recovering from surgery. Visit our website today to learn more about our therapy options!