March 25, 2019
Surgery or physical therapy? Physical therapy or surgery? You often hear the two presented as a split choice in which either one or the other should be used to treat an injury or medical condition. While this is a common decision to be made, the two can actually work together as well, especially when it comes to preparing for surgery. In fact, undergoing Silver Spring physical therapy prior to having surgery is one of the best possible ways to ensure a positive recovery with significant improvements afterwards.
The decision to have surgery is often a difficult one that only comes about after other treatment attempts have failed. Prior to surgery, patients may feel nervous and anxious about the procedure itself, as well as the recovery process afterwards. In recognizing what is often a troubling time for patients, physical therapists offer what’s called “prehabilitation” to assist them with many of their concerns during this process.
Prehabilitation, or prehab, is a customized type of exercise program that is designed to prepare the body and mind for nearly any approaching surgical procedure. It has been used to some extent for decades, but only recently has prehabilitation been acknowledged for its importance and effectiveness. This may be due to the fact that in the past, patients were told to rest and not exert much energy before surgery; however, recent studies have shown that prehab can lead to at least a 30% reduction in the amount of treatment needed after surgery and better overall outcomes for patients.
Using various exercises and other interventions, prehabilitation will help patients become mentally and physically stronger before their procedure so that they can come out of it in better shape. Prehab is commonly recommended for many different types of surgery, and usually takes place during the waiting period before the procedure takes place. This can be for back or shoulder surgery, joint replacements, tendon or ligament repair, or even prior to surgery for cancer such as mastectomy or lumpectomy.
Prehabilitation through a course of Silver Spring physical therapy
At CAM Physical Therapy and Wellness Services, each prehabilitation program is different depending on the surgery and the condition of the patient, but in most cases, the course of Silver Spring physical therapy we provide will consist of the following:
- Evaluation: before beginning treatment, each patient will be evaluated for strength, flexibility, and functional abilities; this will help the physical therapist develop the most appropriate program based on their skills and goals
- Mobility exercises: these exercises will be performed to increase patients’ range of motion and flexibility, which are usually limited after surgery
- Strengthening and stabilization exercises: most patients will also experience reduced strength after the procedure due to lack of movement, but these exercises will help to build up strength beforehand so they are better prepared
- Balance training: in some cases, patients will encounter problems with their balance after surgery, and these exercises will help to improve it
- Education: this is extremely important for patients as well; therapists will instruct them on what to expect and do before and immediately after surgery in order to maximize their healing, flexibility, strength and overall recovery
Having surgery can be a stressful time and weigh heavily on patients, but a course of Silver Spring physical therapy will ease the burden and improve outcomes afterwards so patients can return to the things they love more quickly. Contact CAM Physical Therapy and Wellness Services today at 240-547-43030 to schedule an appointment at any of our four clinics in Hyattsville, Laurel, Glenn Dale/Bowie, or our newest location in Silver Spring, MD, or click here for more information on prehabilitation.