Post Surgery Rehabilitation – Wellness

 – Post Surgery Rehabilitation

The surgical rehabilitation is as important as the surgical procedure itself because the final outcome depends on how quickly and completely a person recovers after undergoing any surgery. This depends on the effectiveness of the rehabilitation program and also on how strictly the program is followed as instructed. The orthopaedic surgeries can be a prototype in describing the rehabilitation as there are various factors to be considered in this type of surgery. In post-surgery rehabilitation, the patients of the back, neck, hip, knee, ankle, shoulder, elbow, and wrist surgery are especially taken care of for faster healing. 

The beginning of post-surgery care occurs with control of pain. The pain can be handled by simple pain killers or it may need injectable pain relievers in some cases. Post-surgical pain is the first step to reduce patient suffering. Nowadays, techniques in anaesthesia offer pain control by procedures such as epidural block which provides pain relief for even days. Other causes of pain if present must be found out and treated. The pain usually decreases as the patient recovers.

Each day following the surgery, a small step is taken towards achieving a complete recovery.  Post-surgery rehabilitation is an active process which is planned by the health care provider, but is led by the patients. The therapists should be highly trained as every patient is different and the rehabilitation programs need to be customized individually for each patient. The program should be dynamic as its requirements keep changing periodically with patient’s recovery, regained strength, ability and range of motion. The therapists also need to address very common emotional and psychological aspects in the health of the patient that sometimes follow surgery.

Treatments start out with range-of-motion exercises and gradually progresses to active stretching and strengthening.
The physical therapists must work individually with each patient to provide the most effective treatment program suitable for a particular patient. The strict following of the physician’s specific prescription and comprehensive physical therapy program is very important for full recovery and attainment of complete range of motion. The patients should be supervised regarding regular completion of their exercises, and it should be made sure that the patients are doing them correctly and effectively. This program involves education of strengthening techniques, assessment of muscle imbalance and teaching about proper posture and body mechanics during everyday activities. The development of personalized exercise programs for the use of patient at home in order to complete the recovery process is also a responsibility of treating physician.

Rehabilitation after orthopaedic surgery, particularly after shoulder arthroscopy procedures can be a slow process. The patient needs to attend physical therapy sessions for several weeks, and full recovery usually takes several months.  Getting the treated part or joint moving as soon as possible is crucial.  However, this must be balanced with the need of the healing muscles and tissues.

The surgeon may ask the patient to wear a sling to support and protect the shoulder for a few days after surgery.  Cold compresses with ice and electrical stimulation treatments may be useful during the first few therapy sessions. This is helpful to control pain and swelling from the surgery. The therapist can use massage and other types of bed-side treatments to reduce the muscle spasm and pain.

Treatments start out with range-of-motion exercises and gradually progresses to active stretching and strengthening.

In a lower limb surgery, the patients are instructed to avoid putting too much weight on the lower limbs when standing or walking for up to six weeks. Strict advice is to be followed as per the limit of safety for weight bearing. This gives the area time to heal. A walker or pair of crutches may be required for up to six weeks to avoid putting on the joints while walking.

Ideally, patients are able to resume their previous lifestyle activities within a few months.  Some patients may be encouraged to modify their activity choices, such as reduction in weight, control of some habits and some diet as well as exercise modifications.

After attainment of muscle tone, range of motion and weight bearing, the regular visits to the therapist’s office end and home rehabilitation programs are started. These programs should be convenient, without undue stress and easy to follow. Sometimes, a belt or strap is advised to wear permanently.

The therapist will continue to be a resource, but following exercises as part of an ongoing home program is patient’s duty.

- Links of interest: Twitter Wellness

This article is not medical advice nor a substitute to professional health advice. Always consult a doctor.


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