Patients have a perception that surgery will correct pain and immobility. And certainly in the long term that can be true. But what is usually not realized is that the surgery only corrects the structural problem and not all the soft tissue changes that exist.
Learn how you can promote health and healing for your body both before and after your surgery.
Move to Prepare for Surgery
Usually, when a person needs surgery, it is not a short term process between need and scheduling. There is usually denial, then a slow acceptance of the inevitable surgery, then the slow process of fitting it into the schedule of the individual and the surgeon. Often, the limitation has to get to the severe point before the person decides to have surgery.During this time, more immobility occurs, more limitation, less activity. So you now have the original injury/condition combined with all the atrophy and stiffness in other parts that happens naturally when we do not stay normally active.
A great thing to discuss with your Doctor is what kinds of exercises you can do safely before your surgery to minimize the effects of your imposed immobilization. After your surgery, make sure you ask what you can do safely, if not with the part involved but with the rest of your body. For example, wrist surgery should not preclude you from exercising your shoulder to keep it from getting stiff. Just as shoulder surgery should not preclude you from walking or perhaps riding a stationary bike.
You might think that since moving is painful it should not be done. That is not always true, and this is where you need to get the most information on your restrictions as possible from your surgeon. Having surgery is overwhelming and often the physician visits are focused on what you can’t do. So make sure to ask what you can do. After all, sitting still usually hurts too, doesn’t it?
A good example is a broken ankle. Once the healing is complete and the cast comes off, it hurts to walk on the ankle. Does that mean you shouldn’t walk? No, it just means the soft tissues require healing, time and movement as well.
The more you move, the more blood that flows, and circulation helps healing. Movement will also help your mental status and all your body systems. Don’t let fear of movement become a barrier to your recovery and keep moving to enhance your recovery!
About the Author: Trish Repici earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Therapy from Ithaca College. Dr. Repici also studied at Western Michigan University, earning her graduate certification in Hippotherapy in 2003 and Level II Therapist status from the American Hippotherapy Association. She is also a registered therapist with the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship. Trish earned a Doctorate in Physical Therapy from the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey in 2008. She has been guest lecturer for Richard Stockton College. In 2010 , Trish opened her own office-based private practice and the first hippotherapy program in the south Jersey area at a local therapeutic riding center. She specializes in vestibular rehabilitation and the management of complex medical patients utilizing manual therapy, therapeutic exercise, patient education and, when appropriate, hipnotherapy.Sharing is Caring!