How Physical Therapy After Surgery Aids in Recovery

Physical therapist works with person with leg injury on exam table

For many patients, getting surgery naturally comes with a variety of concerns, such as worries about their mobility and recovery after the fact. The good news is that physical therapy after surgery is a proven way to aid in recovery and improve healing time.

Centers for Neurosurgery, Spine & Orthopedics (CNSO) is a multi-specialty provider of brain surgery, spine surgeryreconstructive surgerypain management and controlphysical therapy, and other medical services to patients throughout northern New Jersey. Here, CNSO shares more about how physical therapy can benefit patients after surgery.

Physical Therapy Basics

Physical therapy, also called physiotherapy, is a hands-on treatment that helps patients regain function and increase their strength, flexibility, and mobility. Physical therapy can be done for a variety of reasons, including orthopedic injuries, post-operative recovery, and joint problems. Physical therapists use a range of techniques to help patients improve their function and mobility, including:

  • Exercise machines or movements
  • Tissue manipulation or manual therapy
  • Stretching
  • Posture exercises
  • Massage
  • Ultrasound therapy
  • Electrical stimulation
  • Heat and cold therapy

The type of physical therapy and duration of the sessions each patient has will depend on the severity of the injury, other medical conditions, and other factors.

Benefits of Physical Therapy After Surgery

When a patient has surgery on their spine, brain, joint, or other area, their body’s function and muscle tone is affected. This is normal, as the affected area and muscles are not used during periods of injury or recovery. Physical therapy is one treatment surgeons may prescribe so patients can recover faster after surgery. There are many benefits to undergoing physical therapy after a surgical procedure, including:

Improved Coordination, Mobility, and Flexibility

Injuries and surgeries to fix them can impact coordination and flexibility, leaving patients stiff, immobile, or in pain when they move. Physical therapy can help patients improve their flexibility, range of motion, and coordination with a range of techniques, including stretching, physical exercises, and even massage.

Strengthened Muscle

Muscles can become atrophied or weakened when they’re not used properly for a long time. Physical therapy is used to regain the function and muscle that was lost during the process of surgery and recovery. Physical therapists are trained to know what exercises strengthen each muscle, so they can develop customized exercise plans suitable to the patient’s abilities. This allows the patients to regain strength where they need it, as well as getting their entire body stronger.

Proper Healing

Surgeries often are invasive, and the body needs to heal afterward. Physical therapy helps guide the body to heal properly and swiftly by encouraging proper muscle redevelopment, strength, and flexibility. Physical therapists often use methods such as manual therapy, massage, or electrical stimulation to increase blood flow to the area. This improves circulation and inflammation, promoting a faster recovery.

Patients who aren’t active after surgery and don’t participate in physical therapy often have higher rates of complications, such as blood clots and infections, than physically active patients.

Reduced Pain

Surgery often can lead to some pain or soreness after the fact, and many patients believe physical therapy after surgery will be painful, as well. However, physical therapy can help reduce inflammation, swelling, and pain after surgery. This is done without the need for opioid painkillers, which many people want to avoid. Physical therapists are trained in techniques to reduce swelling, stiffness, and pain while increasing patients’ muscle function.

These are just some of the advantages patients can experience by participating in physical therapy after surgery.

Physical Therapy at CNSO

As a provider of both comprehensive surgeries and physical therapy, Centers for Neurosurgery, Spine & Orthopedics is well-versed in both areas. The highly skilled team of specialists at CNSO includes neurosurgeons, orthopedic spine surgeons, interventional pain management physicians, physiatrists, rehabilitation specialists, and certified physical therapists. This team takes an interdisciplinary approach, working together to provide the best quality of care to patients.

The main physical therapist reviews each patient’s case and medical history to develop a customized treatment plan that considers their abilities, limitations, and goals. Physical therapists at CNSO consult with other medical specialists to completely understand each patient’s condition, developing the most suitable treatment plan possible.

Include CNSO Physical Therapy in Your Recovery Plan

Patients with an upcoming operation should ask their surgeon about physical therapy after surgery to help them with recovery. Centers for Neurosurgery, Spine and Orthopedics is the place to go for outstanding medical treatments, ranging from brain and back surgery to pain management and physical therapy. With multiple convenient locations in Bergen, Passaic, Essex, Morris, and Hudson counties, CNSO is accessible to patients throughout northern New Jersey. Request an appointment today.

Centers for Neurosurgery Spine & Orthopedics