Physical therapy helps you recover from surgery, with pain management, and is a tool to get you the results you want.
Ideally, physical therapy will be used as a first resort for treating muscle and joint issues. In some cases, though, surgery is unavoidable. That being said, surgery alone won’t get a patient back to his or her ideal level of function and wellbeing. In fact, the care a patient receives after surgery can make all the difference in that patient’s ability to achieve a successful outcome.
In the recovery period following surgery, most patients experience some degree of pain and limited movement. How the patient addresses those limitations is crucial. It might sound counterintuitive, but one of the worst strategies for recovering post-surgery is keeping totally still or lying in bed. Movement is necessary to promote healing of the body’s tissues. That’s where physical therapy comes in.
A physical therapist can help post-surgical patients get moving again as soon as possible—without risking further injury or complications. That’s because PTs are skilled in monitoring a patient’s functional ability and pushing him or her just enough to speed along the healing process—but not so much that it negatively impacts the patient’s recovery. Ideally, the patient will emerge from the post-surgical recovery period feeling even stronger than he or she felt before having surgery.
Because many patients experience pain following surgery, they often receive prescriptions for painkillers—including opioids. While these medications mask feelings of pain, they do not actually address the cause of the pain or aid in the recovery process. This is why—even if a patient is taking prescription pain meds—it is important for him or her to supplement pharmaceutical intervention with movement-based treatment. Physical therapy helps ease post-surgical pain by alleviating pressure on joints and muscles and improving strength and range of motion. The muscles surrounding the area where the surgery occurred tend to become very tense during the recovery period, and this can add to the patient’s pain. Physical therapists are skilled in releasing that tension so the patient can actually move, thus enabling him or her to make a faster and more complete recovery.