Orthopedic surgery helps millions of Americans regain mobility, relieve pain, and improve their quality of life every year. And to reap those critical benefits, patients need to be ready to commit to a rehabilitation program after surgery to optimize their recovery and outcome.
Dedicated to providing comprehensive, patient-centered care, Joshua Harris, MD, helps patients in Houston, Texas, understand the critical importance of rehab following surgery. Here are five ways a physical therapy program can help you after your orthopedic surgery.
#1: Reduces discomfort
After surgery, your body creates scar tissue as a natural part of healing. The problem: Too much scar tissue can restrict movement and interfere with healing.
Physical therapy lessens discomfort after surgery by promoting movement that decreases scar tissue formation. Plus, therapy also helps reduce inflammation, a major contributor to pain following surgery.
#2: Ramps up circulation
Good circulation is essential for proper healing. Not only does your blood bring oxygen and nutrients necessary for the healing process, but it also carries away toxic byproducts of inflammation.
Regular activity promotes healthy circulation, but getting activity following orthopedic surgery isn’t easy — especially if you have discomfort. Physical therapy jump-starts the healing process by improving circulation to the surgery site, supplying damaged tissues with oxygen-rich blood and nutrients while carrying away toxins.
#3: Improves mobility
Not surprisingly, orthopedic surgery can affect your mobility. You might think resting and taking it easy would be the solution — but that can make you even stiffer.
Physical therapy uses exercises, stretches, and other therapeutic activities to improve mobility and reduce stiffness. Your therapist can also teach you how to use any assistive devices, like canes or crutches, that help you get around while you heal.
#4: Enhances balance and coordination
Many patients have difficulty regaining balance and coordination following surgery. Stiffness and swelling combine to change the way you move, which means your balance can be thrown off.
For plenty of people, feeling unsteady after surgery delays healing and limits activity, which can increase muscle stiffness and pain. Physical therapy includes exercises to help you regain balance and coordination, decreasing your risk of falls, strains, and additional injuries.
#5: Builds strength
It only takes a few weeks of inactivity to see a dramatic drop in muscle mass — and only a few days to lose cardio endurance. After surgery, you can limit muscle loss and rebuild your strength more quickly by embarking on a physical therapy program soon after surgery. Bonus: Improved strength may help reduce injuries in the future, too.
Get back on your feet
Rehabilitation programs are customized for each patient and tailored to the type of surgery, the patient’s lifestyle, postoperative goals, and other factors for optimal outcomes. To learn more about rehab and how it can help you recover following your orthopedic procedure, call 713-441-8393 or book an appointment online with Dr. Harris today.