Are you recovering from surgery? Maybe you’ve had tendons in your knee replaced or your entire hip joint swapped out for a new one. No matter what the operation is, there’s probably some pain afterward. Some surgeries require physical therapy after they’re done. Other times, physical therapy can help when pain lingers or when something doesn’t heal right.
If you have recently had an orthopedic surgery, like a knee replacement, a spinal fusion, or other surgery that directly affects the way your body moves, your doctor might recommend physical therapy afterward. Physical therapy is a proven way to help your body regain strength, range of motion, flexibility, and more.
Your doctor or surgeon will probably recommend a physical therapist for you. If this is the case, then that is the provider you should start seeing. If, however, you ever feel uncomfortable with your provider or you feel like your condition is not improving, you can usually find a different physical therapist to see. You may have to get a referral from your doctor, but if nothing is improving, then this should be pretty straightforward.
Your physical therapist should assess your condition. Ideally, they will go over your medical charts, and possibly even talk to your surgeon, before they ever see you. When they do see you, they should ask you about your pain levels, and help figure out what your ultimate goals are for healing.
With all of this information, your physical therapist will come up with a treatment plan specific to your body and the surgery that you had. There’s no one-size-fits-all plan in physical therapy, so you should feel like your treatment is specific to who you are and what you want to achieve with your body. Physical therapy, for instance, will be different for someone who wants to run a marathon then it is for someone who simply wants to be able to claim their stairs again.
Once you and your physical therapist have agreed on a treatment plan for your post op rehab, they should help you jump into acting on that plan. At first, you may do simple stretches, or even use machines to help move your limbs so that nothing locks into place. As you progress through your treatment plan, your therapist should implement exercises, both in the office and at home, that will help your body get back to its normal condition.
The ultimate goal of post-op physical therapy is to leave you pain-free, and able to do everything that you want to do with your body. Sometimes, it’s not possible to get your body back to the condition you desire. In these cases, your physical therapist may recommend you to other specialists, or give you other ideas for comparable ways that you can use your body.
Surgery can be difficult, and recovery can take a while. Working with a physical therapist should make the healing process faster and easier, and should leave you with the confidence is that your body is back to his usual operative condition.