Surgery is a traumatic experience—even in the best of circumstances. Making the decision to undergo surgery for a torn muscle or tendon means accepting putting your body in the hands of another individual to repair what is broken, and accepting that the process will leave you weaker before it allows you to become stronger. Surgery is never something that you should allow to just happen to you—meaning that when you find that you are faced with the option for surgical correction, you need to take that opportunity for what it is and do your part in ensuring that it is going to be as effective as possible in helping you to feel better.
Sitting at home and waiting for your surgical date is not the correct way to prepare for surgery. In many situations, physical therapy can help both before and after surgical intervention to assist with strength and healing. Always consult with your surgeon before beginning any new treatment program, but with your surgeon’s support, it may be worth your while to contact a physical therapist as soon as you find out you are facing a surgical procedure to begin preparing your body for what will be a difficult but worthwhile road to recovery.
The Benefits of Pre & Post-Surgical Physical Therapy
A study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine in the past year found that individuals who began a physical therapy program prior to the surgical intervention had better outcomes following their surgical procedure. Specifically, undergoing a 5-week preoperative rehabilitative program, followed by one year of postoperative rehabilitative support were significantly more likely to feel a full return to strength and range of motion following their injury. What’s more, those who participated in physical therapy both before and after their surgical experience actually returned to full functional strength faster than those who did not engage in any physical therapy. As many as 95% of participants in the rehabilitation program were within the normative range of strength and mobility just two years following their surgical date.
Physical therapy is highly recommended for the rehabilitation after surgical intervention for:
- Shoulder injuries
- Hip injuries
- Knee, ankle or foot injuries
- Neck and back injuries
Physical therapy following surgical treatment has become mostly common practice for many rehabilitation programs, but the option to pursue physical therapy prior to surgery is still largely left up to the determination of the patient. Engaging in the physical therapy process before undergoing your operation for the correction of torn tissue or muscle can make a huge difference in your recovery process.
Physical therapy will help with the process of:
- Rebuilding strength in the area of the damaged tissues and muscles
- Improving range of motion within the targeted areas
- Reducing the experience of pain in the targeted areas
In addition, your physical therapist will provide you with exercises that you can do at home to ensure that you are able to help yourself push towards the strongest and fastest postoperative recovery.
If you are looking ahead at an impending surgical correction, now is the right time to contact your physical therapist to learn about your pre and post-surgical rehabilitation options.