5 Benefits of Physical Therapy After Surgery

5 Benefits of Physical Therapy After Surgery

If you’re facing orthopedic surgery, are you looking at the recovery process with trepidation? If so, you don’t have to. Physical therapy can help you heal quicker and get you back to doing the things you love.

In this blog, Kristopher Downing, MD, & James Andry, MD of Upper Extremity Specialists explain some of the many benefits of physical therapy.

Top benefits of physical therapy after surgery

If you’re getting orthopedic surgery, the process doesn’t stop when the surgeon finishes. The next stage is physical therapy, which can help you get back to normal as soon as possible. Here are five of its many benefits.

1. Help you get moving safely

The goal of orthopedic surgery is to repair damaged muscles, ligaments, and tendons. However, once the repair is made, how do you know how much you can move the area and when? Physical therapy answers those questions. 

Recovering from orthopedic surgery can take several weeks or months. And when you participate in physical therapy, your therapist begins guiding you through exercises. At first, the exercises may be passive, which means your therapist will move and stimulate the affected areas. Eventually, you’ll begin performing active exercises, which means you’ll be involved in making the movements.

The goal of physical therapy is to stimulate healthy blood flow, reduce your risk for  post-operative complications, and help you get moving safely again. The exercises you perform will be based on your condition, the type of surgery, and your overall health.

2. Build strength and flexibility

As your physical therapy progresses and your mobility increases, so will your strength and flexibility. Your therapist will select exercises, stretches, and other therapies, such as massage, to help speed healing and restore strength.

You’ll participate in stretches designed to increase flexibility and reduce muscle stiffness. And you’ll participate in targeted strength training exercises to help build muscle around your surgery site.

3. Minimize postoperative pain

It’s normal to experience pain as your body recovers from surgery, but going to physical therapy can help reduce your post-operative pain. As you build strength and flexibility, this should also help reduce your pain.

Depending on your injury and surgery, your therapist may also recommend lifestyle adjustments to help reduce your pain as you heal. Occupational therapy is a type of physical therapy that’s dedicated to helping you do activities you need to do with less pain.

4. Return to activity faster

Your body has the natural ability to heal and restore healthy functioning, and physical therapy can accelerate that process. Physical therapy can help your body recover faster and more fully after surgery, which can mean less downtime overall.

If your goal is to return to sports, your therapist can give you specific exercises to prepare yourself for playing once again. Your therapist will work with you closely to determine when your body has healed enough to return to sports safely.

5. Reduce risk of reinjury

If you suffer an orthopedic injury, your risk of reinjuring the area increases, even if you have surgery to correct the issue. However, physical therapy is focused on accelerating healing and restoring strength, and that means it can effectively lower your risk for reinjury.

As orthopedic surgery specialists, Dr. Downing offers comprehensive care for people before, during, and after surgery. We’re here to help you understand when surgery might be necessary and how you can make your recovery more effective. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with Upper Extremity Specialists today.

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