What is pre- and post-operative physical therapy?
Pre-operative (pre-op) Physical Therapy
Pre-operative physical therapy (also known as "prehabiltation" and "pre-hab") entails hands-on manual therapy treatments that can help make the post-surgical rehabilitation process easier than for those who do not receive physical therapy before surgery. It can help improve physical function and mobility, strengthen muscles and surrounding tissues, reduce inflammation, improve circulation, as well as improving balance and coordination before surgery and while rehabilitating afterward. During pre-operative physical therapy, your therapist will also educate you on the correct use of assistive devices you may be using now and ones you may need after your surgery.
Pre-op physical therapy will help strengthen your muscles ahead of time, which will start the rehabilitative process ahead of time. People who participate in pre-op physical therapy tend to regain function more quickly following surgery, compared to those who do not have a pre-op program. It is recommended that patients begin pre-op physical therapy about a month prior to surgery. Be sure to participate in any home exercise programs, if prescribed by your physical therapist. If you have questions about pre-operative physical therapy or any of the home exercises, please call us at 203-445-9843.
Post-operative (post-op) Physical Therapy
Post-operative physical therapy entails hands-on manual therapy treatments and, typically, home exercise programs designed to help post-operative patients recover from surgery. Surgeons routinely refer post-surgical patients to our physical therapists to help them recover strength, function and mobility in the surgical site, as quickly as possible.
Our therapists provide one-on-one, evidence-based physical therapy treatment sessions to help facilitate your recovery and return to activities of daily living (ADLs), work, recreational activities and even competitive sports. The post-surgical physical therapy program recommended for you will depend on the injury and type of surgery performed.
How will pre-op/post-op care benefit me?
Statistics prove that people recover faster and safer when they receive pre-operative care to help them prepare ahead of time for surgery. Better strength and function going into surgery puts you further along the road to recovery after surgery.
Post-operative physical therapy can help people recover faster and gain more function after surgery than those who do not receive post-operative care. Weak muscles are a detriment to joint and muscle function. The faster your body regains strength and function, the faster your body will heal and recover.
Some of the therapies used to accomplish the goal of reducing pain, swelling and stiffness before surgery and regaining movement afterward may include one or more of the following:
- Manual therapy
- Soft tissue and/or joint mobilization
- Muscle energy
- Gait and balance training
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) - electrical muscle & nerve stimulation
- Therapeutic exercise and functional strength training
- Functional re-education
- Rehabilitative exercises to help increase strength, endurance, motion, balance and coordination
It is generally recommended that people start post-operative physical therapy about a month after surgery and continue treatment for about 4 to 6 weeks. Be sure to participate in any home exercise programs, as directed by your physical therapist. If you have questions about post-operative physical therapy or any of the home exercises, please call us at 203-445-9843.
For what conditions could I receive pre- or post-op care?
We help patients pre-hab for and rehabilitate post-operatively from a variety of orthopedic post-operative procedures, including:
- Knee, hip and shoulder joint replacements
- Reconstruction of any one or more of the four major knee ligaments: anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), medial collateral ligament (MCL), posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) and lateral collateral ligament (LCL)
- Arthroscopic knee surgeries (such as meniscectomies, meniscal repairs)
- Ligament and tendon repair, including Achilles tendon repairs
- Arthroscopic hip surgeries (such as labral repairs)
- Nerve releases (such as cubital tunnel, radial tunnel, carpal tunnel, tarsal tunnel)
- Neck and back surgery (such as fusions, laminectomy, decompression and discectomy)
- Nerve compression release
- Bone or joint fusion (arthrodesis)
- Tendon transfers
- Surgical fixation of fractures, including open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF), a two-part surgery used to fix broken bones where the broken bone is reduced (put back into place) and an internal fixation device is placed on the bone (e.g., screws, plates, rods or pins) to hold the bone together
- Shoulder post-surgical recovery for rotator cuff tears, labral tears, superior labrum anterior and posterior (SLAP) tear or lesion, arthroscopy and more
Manual therapy is typically part of a complete treatment plan that is customized for your specific needs. Give us a call to learn how we can incorporate manual therapy into your pre-operative and post-operative rehabilitation program.