Surgery is only the beginning – why is post-operative rehab with a physiotherapist so important?
I worked in post operative care in the NHS for five years before joining JRM. I cannot emphasise enough how important your post operative rehab with a physiotherapist is in order to maximise your recovery.
In this blog I am going to focus on lower limb orthopaedic surgery as this is what we as physios see most often, but post operative rehab is important no matter what surgery you have had.
Joint replacement surgery is mainly done to alleviate pain and improve function. It is often the case that you have had to wait months, if not years, for the surgery. As a result, you have likely lost muscle mass, strength, and a range of movement. When you have your surgery, the consultant has given you a new joint, BUT they have not given you new muscles to go with it.
This is where physiotherapy comes in. As physiotherapists we help you to maximise your recovery by assessing your weakness and strength, your range of movement, and listening to your goals. Then together with you we devise a safe graded exercise plan that is tailored to your current ability and is achievable to complete around your life. Don’t have a gym membership or gym equipment at home? Don’t worry, we can tailor your exercises to work around you, and the important difference about a physio-led rehabilitation programme is that we have the medical training to understand how your body will be affected by the surgery and how to safely develop the strength you need to achieve your activity goals. For example, a post total hip replacement programme will include strengthening of the glutes, quads and hamstring muscle groups as well as range of movement exercises, balance exercises and gait re-education.
At follow-up appointments in the clinic, we can use a variety of manual techniques (hands on) to help alleviate symptoms whilst you are recovering, building strength and function. Such as soft tissues release/massage, joint mobilisations, and swelling drainage massage. We don’t just provide you with a set of exercises and send you on your way – at JRM we travel on this journey with you, supporting you, correcting your techniques, challenging you to progress safely, monitoring potential risks, and relieving symptoms through hands on therapy as you go. As I have previously mentioned although you have been given a new joint by the consultant you have not been given new muscles to go with it, rehabilitation with a physio is vital in maximising your recovery and the success of the surgery to reduced risk such as an altered gait/limping, pain, reduced function or further surgery. It is therefore normal to have to attend clinic regularly for a period of weeks during your rehabilitation to ensure you get the maximum recovery possible and avoid further musculoskeletal issues in the future.
If you have recently had surgery, or have a surgery date confirmed, get in touch with us to discuss your needs and plan your rehabilitation. Investing in an intensive rehabilitation programme with our experienced team at JRM Physiotherapy means you will make the best possible recovery and have the best likelihood of living the active pain-free lifestyle you have been wishing for. Start your post operative recovery today by giving us a call or booking online.