There is a general idea that physiotherapy is something we turn to after an accident. However, in reality physiotherapy is a very versatile service, which you should use on several occasions. And one of those occasions is before having surgery.
Why should you undergo physiotherapy before surgery?
Physiotherapy in the preparation phase for surgery helps to prevent and minimize some of the sequelae associated with the procedure.
Pre-surgical rehabilitation allows to reduce postoperative complications, with a faster return to activities of daily living. Pre-surgical rehabilitation will also allow these activities to be done with greater safety and without much suffering.
The surgery is usually scheduled in advance, so you’ll have enough time to prepare and perform physical therapy. Therefore, the physiotherapy plan for the area/limb to be treated should be carried out before surgery. This plan will help restore joint function and ensure you are strong enough for the surgical procedure.
The physiotherapist will help you with:
- Application of pain control techniques (eg ice to calm inflammation or heat to allow muscle relaxation)
- Maintenance of strength and mobility – to prevent loss of movement after surgery
- Antalgic postures – the physiotherapist will tell you what position to adopt in case of pain, to compensate the affected limb
- Functional recovery activities and exercises – to relieve pain
- Respiratory and bronchial clearance techniques – to prevent respiratory problems from evolving
In the post-surgical period, the physiotherapist is the one who guides the patient about the time to resume routine activities, exercises and also corrects post-surgical postural changes or treats discomfort arising from certain positioning limitations in certain types of surgery, in addition to treating musculoskeletal discomforts with manipulative therapies.
Physiotherapy plays a key role in the postoperative period of surgeries:
- Contributions to the acceleration of the healing process
- Restores movement and strength (with the aim of achieving maximum patient functionality in the shortest possible time)
Physiotherapy is aimed at all types of post-operative recovery:
- Hip and Knee Prostheses
- Fractures from traumatic episodes
- Ligament injuries treated surgically
- Cardiothoracic, abdominal, pulmonary, oncologic surgeries, respiratory problems and musculoskeletal problems (surgeries on the shoulder, wrist, hip, knee, foot and spine, etc.).
Objectives of pre- and post-operative physiotherapy
Physiotherapy aims to fully recover the function of the operated zone/limb, allowing for the patient’s global re-education and the resumption of his level of activity and functionality.
It is necessary to perform strengthening work on the non-operated limbs, so that activities of daily living are carried out with greater safety and there is a faster progression in the physiotherapy treatment plan.
The physiotherapy plan includes:
- Pain and edema control (swelling)
- Gain in joint ranges (great limb movements)
- Overall muscle strength gain
- Flexibility gain
- balance gain
- Relearning the correct gait pattern
- Improved resistance to exertion
- Improved respiratory capacity
The physiotherapist will educate and inform the client on how it will help them to improve and regain their general health. This includes lifestyle changes, such as an indication of the ideal sleeping position or the correct working position (care before and after surgery).