Schedule Appointment

Preparing for the Road to Recovery: The Importance of Pre-Op Physical Therapy

physical therapist assistants

By: Courtney Kline, LPTA

Surgery is scary.  No matter what kind, it’s a scary process and preparing for it both mentally and physically can be a daunting task.  Your body is about to go through a planned trauma.  Even though you are already in pain, hence the need for surgery, you know there is going to be discomfort and a long road to recovery afterwards.  Preparation is crucial.  Getting pre-op physical therapy before your surgery can help make that rehabilitation journey a little easier for several reasons.

  1. Preparation: When you come to pre-op physical therapy, you learn and go through many of the exercises, stretches and motions you will need to do as part of your rehabilitation process. By spending time with a physical therapist so they can take you through these exercises, you are helping your body get used to those movements and it won’t be as tough following your surgery.  Your recovery time will be more efficient.  The therapist will show how to do the various exercises correctly so you are targeting the right muscles.  This ensures that you can progress towards a better range of motion and decrease the pain.  During your pre-op physical therapy sessions, the therapist can also teach you how to correctly use any assistive device you may need.  That way you don’t run the risk of getting injured from slipping with your cane or walker.
  1. Strengthening: It’s possible that the muscles near your surgery site are already weaker than normal. It’s important to start strengthening them before surgery.  Like we said earlier, surgery is a planned trauma to your body, albeit a corrective one, but nonetheless, your body doesn’t distinguish between an accidental fall and a total knee replacement.  The muscles around that area are going to be weaker and uncomfortable because of the operation.  They need to be strengthened ahead of time, stretched so the range of motion improves, and worked out in a way that will help your functionality in the long run.  By doing pre-op physical therapy, your body begins that process, ultimately making your recovery a little easier.
  1. Education: Education is a very critical part of the surgery process. It’s helpful to understand what actually happens in the surgery, where you will feel discomfort afterwards, and how to recognize and avoid compensating for it.  Pre-op physical therapy can also give you a better sense of how long your recovery time will be.  Going into the surgery with less anxiety will help your overall recovery and give you a better outlook on the post-surgery process.

At Loudoun Sports Therapy Center, our clinicians are experts at helping you prepare for surgery and recover afterwards.  If you want to know more about how physical therapy can help you, call LSTC today at 703-450-4300.