Prehab and its’ benefit in a non-complicated recovery post-surgery
26/02/2019 by Pivotal Motion
Recovery following surgery can be long-winded and frustrating for many patients. At Pivotal Motion, we understand this and therefore try to promote a non-complicated speedy recovery. Our goal is to get you moving at a desirable level as soon as possible.
Prehabilitation has been proven to reduce admission to acute rehabilitation following surgery. This applies to common physio-related surgeries such as knee and hip replacements; rotator cuff repairs and ankle reconstructions. For this reason, we believe prehabilitation is important.
How can physiotherapy prehab help with a safe and speedy recovery post-op?
Often leading up to surgery, we see the area of the body adapting to the pain/weakness associated with the injury. A classic example is a patient limping due to severe osteoarthritis of the knees. This then leads to weakness in the quads and overactivity of muscles higher up such as the glutes.
Manual therapy techniques such as massage, joint mobilisation and trigger point releasing can address these issues. It is better to sort out these issues sooner rather than later which is why it is an imperative part of prehabilitation.
The main element of prehabilitation is exercise. The goal of exercising prior to surgery is to maintain effective contraction of the muscles around the area that’s about to undergo surgery. This prevents excessive weakness from occurring and will provide post-operative muscle memory. The exercises prescribed are tailored to each individual and will include isolated strengthening of specific muscle groups as well as functional compound exercises.
Using the above example of someone about to undergo a total knee replacement, the main muscles that need to be worked are the quads, hamstrings, calf and glutes. Your physio can then prescribe theraband resisted quads and hamstring exercises for isolated strengthening and then a basic body weight squat for functional compound strengthening. Your physio will develop a comprehensive prehab exercise programme which will include all the appropriate exercises. These should be done religiously in months leading up to surgery.
The more a patient knows about expectations and outcomes after surgery, the better prepared they are. At Pivotal Motion, we aim to ensure each patient is well educated on the surgery they are about to undertake as well as expectations. Rehab milestones are of special interest. These are certain achievements (objective or functional) during the recovery process that indicate a significant step in improvement.
Examples of rehab milestones include: obtaining full range of motion in a joint, attaining grade 5 muscle strength, being able to stand and being able to walk. Adequate education on appropriate time frames matching these rehab milestones is also very important. This prevents frustration when certain goals aren’t met in specific timeframes.
For more information on prehabilitation or if you require some prehab yourself, feel free to book online or call our friendly team at Pivotal Motion Physiotherapy on 07 3352 5116.