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Why Physical Therapy Is so Important After Surgery

Posted on in Surgery

Millions of people are referred to physical therapy each year for the treatment of a range of orthopedic issues. Physical therapists are experts in improving range of motion, everyday functioning and overall quality of life. However, many patients are unsure what physical therapy can do for them or why it is important to attend physical therapy sessions.

What Is the Purpose of Physical Therapy?

Physical therapists perform myriad functions related to health and well-being. The purpose of physical therapy is to help a patient achieve optimal physical functioning. In an orthopedic setting, this may include treatment of an acute or chronic injury. Alternatively, patients may be referred to physical therapy after a surgery.

During an intake session, our physical therapists examine each patient’s medical history. Assessments may include measurements of physical strength, balance, range of motion, breathing rate, coordination and motor functioning. A physical therapist may make recommendations about your ability to return to work or perform everyday activities following an injury.physical therapy after surgery

The Problem of Non-Compliance with Physical Therapy

Unfortunately, many patients are not fully compliant with physical therapy recommendations. Perhaps the largest reason that patients do not comply with physical therapy recommendations is that they do not understand why PT is so important for recovery. When talking to your orthopedic doctor about physical therapy, ask how it will help you.

Other possible reasons for non-compliance include fear of pain during physical therapy. It is true that physical therapists may attempt to find your limits or push your comfort zone a bit. However, if you are experiencing pain at any time, it is important to tell your physical therapist. We will work with you to find alternative exercises to support your recovery.

Why Physical Therapy is So Important after Surgery

If you ask our orthopedic specialists, they will tell you that the success of a given treatment is heavily influenced by compliance with physical therapy recommendations. Imagine that two identical patients undergo the same hip surgery. One faithfully attends physical therapy appointments and performs recommended exercises at home. The other stops going to physical therapy after one or two sessions. After a few months, there will likely be a dramatic difference between the two patients in range of motion and everyday functioning.

Following surgery, bones, muscles and soft tissues undergo a period healing. Failure to use the joint may cause it to heal improperly. This can limit range of motion, flexibility, function of the joint and overall surgical outcome. This makes it essential to complete physical therapy after a surgery.

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