Rehabilitation after Surgery

After spending days, weeks, or more in the hospital, it’s pretty normal to be anxious to get back to your normal routine at home or work.  You vaguely recall the doctor mentioning the process of getting back to the routine, but you were fixated on the routine—not the journey.  The discharge nurse will likely hand you a stack of papers, among which are your prescribed therapies and nearby rehabilitation centers offering the prescribed services, but it may not be until you or your caregiver is sifting through the paperwork do you see this information.  Is it really that important to follow the doctor’s guidelines?  In a word: Yes.

1: Faster Recovery

The simplest answer is that properly-guided therapies including physical therapy and occupational therapy, among others, will help you return to normal life faster and safer than had you simply rested at home and slowly resumed normal activities.  While you may be tempted to simply follow the exercises and stretches you see charted in the handouts and online, having a trained therapist working with you works as both a “safety net” to avoid further injury and an encourager to push you on toward faster healing.

2: Regain Mobility, Ability, and Range of Motion (ROM)

When you are injured or undergo surgery, your brain instinctively goes into a protection mode, or “limp” mode in order to protect your body from further injury.  It’s incredibly difficult for your body to regain proper range of motion and mobility without a therapist as a guide, helping your brain re-learn how to perform particular functions before the re-mapping in your body is more engrained, and therefore more difficult to break.

3: Promotes Healing

Proper, safe movement promotes circulation, oxygenation, reduces inflammation, and prevents the build-up of scar tissue that can further reduce flexibility and range of motion.  The concern over improved healing is especially true if the injury or surgery was on a major joint such as a hip replacement, shoulder rotator cuff injury, or ACL tear surgery, where the down time post-injury/surgery severely impacts one’s ability to perform basic daily functions.

While some recovery and rehabilitation processes may be handled in daily visits, in-patient or live-in rehabilitation services offer value far beyond the direct treatment, but also foster an environment of healing, and provide the necessary facilities such as washrooms, furniture, handrails and wide hallways, helping prevent further injuries during recovery.

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