Getting back to full strength and range of motion after a surgical procedure is a stressful and complicated journey but it doesn’t have to be that way. Everyone can get back to a great level of fitness by consistently following a personalized rehab plan. So what’s the problem then?
Rehabilitation means different things to different people and we often find that people are unaware of what to expect from their journey, leading to confusion, doubt, anger and setbacks. So we thought this would be a good time to discuss 5 myths that are associated with post-operative rehab and what you really need to know about successfully completing your rehab journey smoothly.
1. “I’ll look into rehab after my surgery is completed”
We’ll have to start from the beginning and that’s not after your surgery but the very beginning. Once you have been diagnosed and you are aware of what your injury is, you can immediately seek out the help of a certified physiotherapist to advise you on your rehabilitation from injury BEFORE the surgery. Your physiotherapist can create a ‘prehab’ plan, which is a routine that prepares your system for surgery by strengthening your body and adding smart behavioural changes such as a change in diet or focusing on certain habits.
Your surgery could be weeks away and that’s vital time which can be used to strengthen surrounding support structures and that’s exactly what prehab does. For instance, one study found that prehab knee exercises increased recovery time by up to 73%.
2. “I’ll give it a few weeks after surgery to do rehab”
While it does depend on what kind of injury and surgery you undergo, most people greatly underestimate how quickly their bodies are ready for rehabilitation. Like the previous point, you might not be able to work on the affected area right away but there’s always something you can work on in the meantime. That’s because prolonged rest after surgery can lead to more issues such as reduction in blood flow to the area and an increase in muscle atrophy, which can lead to a longer recovery time.
Getting the earliest possible start on post-operative rehabilitation can negate adverse effects that might arise after surgical intervention.
3. “Avoiding pain and taking rest is the best plan”
There is a difference between pain and discomfort. Pain is the body signalling you to stop doing something because you are not capable of doing it properly at the time. You don’t want to make things worse but at the same time, you need to progress toward recovery and for that you need rehabilitation that might come with some discomfort.
You can experience some discomfort when you reach the limits of what your muscles and nerves can achieve and it is time to stop when you feel it. A little discomfort goes a long way in building strength, mobility, flexibility, and stamina over time.
4. “It hurts a little bit but I’ll just push through it”
“No pain, no gain.” is a huge misconception that is related to pain and discomfort again. You can’t blindly follow a generic rehab plan and ignore these pain signals. Knowing when it is painful and when you are experiencing discomfort is the key but some people overdo it and this can be detrimental. Not properly accounting for rest and pushing too hard will just prolong pain-free recovery.
5. “I can do it alone”
This is where an expert physiotherapist is going to make all the difference because the knowledge gap, the experience, and rehab planning are too often very difficult for a regular person to carry out effectively. You need someone to customize a plan that fits your particular set of circumstances, a specialist who can coach you through the exercises and help you avoid painful movements by carefully watching your form. A physiotherapist will track your progress and make sure you are getting where you need to be by adjusting your rehabilitation accordingly.
Not everyone heals at the same rate, some can recover quickly, in which case, your physiotherapist will recognize this and save you time, or it can take longer and they’ll protect you against fatigue or further injury.
Post-Operation Rehab with Form Physio and Rehab
The key concept of exercise in post-surgery rehabilitation is doing the right type of exercise at the right time. Finding the right balance between not doing enough and too much exercise is crucial. Thus, neither complete rest nor sporting activities are advisable at this stage. That being said, as time progresses the balance tends to shift from less demanding to more intensive exercises as the rehabilitation intensity is progressed
The team at Form Physio and Rehab will help you avoid these common mistakes and give you a clear path to recovery. You need a physio to help you with this balance and knowing how much to push you when it is necessary to step up and progress to the next level.
Our staff is fully certified and we will help you get back to your full strength through a customized rehabilitation plan that follows the latest techniques and best practices. To find out more about how you can rehabilitate safely, get in touch with us.
Supapong (Boss) Juntharin
Head of Education at Form Recovery and Wellness
Khun Supapong received a Degree in Physiotherapy from Rangsit University in Bangkok. Supapong is the Head of Education at Form Recovery and Wellness and works closely with our team to ensure that the quality of our treatment is always at the highest level and that we are always upskilling our skills.