“Pre-hab”: Physiotherapy Before Surgery

UK Physiotherapy SalfordIt is widely accepted that physiotherapy is beneficial after  an ACL repair, hip or knee replacement and various other surgeries. However, the idea of “pre-hab” or pre-surgical rehabilitation is becoming increasingly popular… and for a good reason. Studies have found that a person’s strength, flexibility, functional ability and pain prior to surgery, such as a total knee replacement, significantly predicts the outcome of his or her recovery after surgery. In other words, the stronger, less painful and more flexible a person is prior to surgery, the more likely they are to have a faster and easier recovery.

Why “Pre-hab”?

It is inevitable that a wait time will be involved before to surgery. This time can be valuable if it is used to prepare the body for surgery. Research shows that people who participate in pre-hab regain function and return to normal daily activities faster than those who do not. Decreased range of motion and strength is often associated with surgery.  Taking part in rehabilitation before surgery will help to build muscle so that an individual has a higher starting level of strength. This will help to lessen the effects of muscle atrophy after surgery.

Physiotherapy and “Pre-Hab”

Before surgery, it is common for the area that will be operated on to be painful, inflamed and weak. A physiotherapist will perform a thorough assessment to evaluate your walking pattern, determine your muscle strength, joint range of motion, ability to perform daily tasks, and the amount of help you require from others.

A “pre-hab” program should start at least 6 weeks before surgery. This program will start and progress slowly to prevent aggravating the existing problem or staring a new one. The physiotherapist will develop a treatment plan that will help to reduce inflammation and pain, increase strength and functional ability and improve blood flow.

When designing your program, the physiotherapists will take your goals into consideration along with the known requirements of hospital discharge after surgery. For example: if your goal is to get up out of a chair more easily, the physiotherapist will give exercises and strategies to help you reach this goal. Additionally, if a requirement for discharge after surgery is to go up and down 9 steps, the physiotherapist will work on this task with you before surgery so that you are more equipped to perform this activity after surgery. A physiotherapist can also provide advice about appropriate gait aids to ensure you are safe while walking. In addition, “pre-hab” can help reduce your fears and anxiety about what will happen after surgery. You will have the opportunity to learn and get familiar with exercises you will need to do and gait aids that you may need to use once the surgery is over.

Do you have an upcoming surgery?

If you or someone you know have an upcoming surgery consider “pre-hab” to speed up your recovery. For more information or to set up an appointment, contact Kinetic Physiotherapy via phone 905-637-1414 or email: info@kineticphysiotherapy.ca 

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One thought on ““Pre-hab”: Physiotherapy Before Surgery

  1. Love this article. It explains what so many health professionals do not even know or recommend. Thanking kinetic physiotherapy for the article!

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