Setting realistic expectations about physical therapy following surgery
When it is time to leave the hospital after a surgical procedure, it may seem like you’re ready to return to your regular schedule. But in many cases, doctors order physical therapy, which is needed for a complete recovery. Surgical patients who stubbornly refuse to undergo physical therapy after surgery will find that, over time, the buildup of scar tissue will reduce range of motion, flexibility and strength in the surgically repaired part of their bodies. October is National Physical Therapy month and a good time to address common excuses for not participating in physical therapy.
Here are five misconceptions about physical therapy after surgery.
Misconception #1: You don’t have time for physical therapy
Working with a physical therapist does take time but can be crucial for a quicker outcome. Be aware that your body won’t return to normal after just one therapy session. Formulate a realistic approach by setting attainable goals and tracking progress. A physical therapist can help make sure that things are healing properly by strengthening and stretching the correct muscles. The time spent in therapy is a good investment in your health.
Misconception #2: Physical therapy is too painful
Moving around after surgery can be painful, but a physical therapist can help manage and reduce that pain. They are trained to push your body within your pain threshold to help heal and restore the tissues. The techniques and exercises during physical therapy can restore muscle and joint functions and relieve the pain. The movement increases blood flow, which reduces inflammation, another trigger for pain.
Misconception #3: You’re too old for physical therapy
Research has shown that whether you are 40 or 80, appropriate exercise will make a positive difference. In some cases, physical therapy can address the area of surgery and also improve other health issues like balance, flexibility and strength. Regular exercise also has many other benefits, from strengthening bones to reducing your risk of heart disease.
Misconception #4: Physical therapy is just a bunch of exercises that you don’t need
Physical therapy is not like revisiting your high school gym class. A physical therapist evaluates each patient and develops a custom plan for recovery. This plan may include manual techniques like soft tissue manipulation and modalities like heat or cold application that aren’t anything close to jumping jacks. The goal is to maximize the body’s function in the best way possible.
Misconception #5: You can do physical therapy by yourself
You do play an important role in physical therapy, but it is not a solo activity. Every patient needs to be evaluated so that an effective plan can be created. There is no exercise site on the internet or clever video that can meet your individual needs. There is always a danger of doing too little or too much when you attempt to be your own physical therapist. If you wait until the pain goes away, it may be too late. If you push too hard, you may give yourself a serious injury. The best way is to turn your care over to a therapist who can provide the best plan of action. A physical therapist can also provide the encouragement needed to move forward with the challenging process of healing.
Returning to an active lifestyle
Surgery is only the first step in getting back to normal. Once you leave the hospital, there are many recovery challenges. Focusing on your health is difficult after you return to home to obligations like laundry, meals and family. For many, the best path to recovery is to choose to stay in a short-term post-hospital rehabilitation center like Whitehall of Deerfield where the only focus is your recovery.
When it comes to choosing an environment that enhances recovery, Whitehall of Deerfield is the area’s premier choice for post-hospital recovery. With excellent outcomes and a resort-like setting, Whitehall of Deerfield has consistently received Medicare’s highest rating in Medicare’s five-star rating system of nursing and post-hospital rehabilitation centers. Whitehall of Deerfield is also ranked #6 in Newsweek magazine’s 2021 list of best post-hospital rehabilitation and nursing care centers in Illinois—and has received U.S. News & World Report’s “Top Performing” rating. Learn more about the individualized, one-on-one therapy programs, world-class amenities and COVID-19 safety measures by visiting WhiteHallofDeerfield.com or calling 847-945-4600.
To learn more, visit whitehallofdeerfield.com or call 847-945-4600.
— J. Buchenot for Whitehall of Deerfield