There are benefits to exercise before and after surgery. It is important to meet with your physical therapist before surgery or after an injury to get started on your recovery. There are often exercises you can do or tools you can use to make your rehabilitation after surgery easier. Meeting with your physical therapist could before can help you make a plan and prepare yourself once you are released from the hospital.
What are the benefits?
Improvements in function, muscle strength, and length of hospital stay
Reduced muscle atrophy
Reduced risk of complications
Muscle memory making rehabilitation simpler
Body will be stronger going into surgery, so you will be more prepared to recover (like training before a race)
"Numerous studies have shown that patients who complete strength, aerobic, and flexibility exercises before joint replacement surgery are less likely to need inpatient rehabilitation and typically recover faster" (Arthritis & Sports). The benefits of prehab can be seen days after surgery and can help you progress faster in your rehabilitation. This is because you are stronger both in your body and mind. During prehab you will be able to build a relationship with your physical therapist, making you more comfortable and prepared to work with them in recovery. It also gives you time to ask questions and get advice. Sometimes it could be difficult for patients to get to their physical therapist so soon after surgery. By prior planning with your physical therapist they could create an at home program, so you do not fall behind and can even get ahead of schedule.
How is prehab different from rehab?
Prehab and rehab deal with many similar aspects, but have different focuses. After surgery you are trying to restore your balance, strength, range of motion, and proprioception. People often loose these skills after surgery due to resting/immobility and physiological changes. Prehab is done to lessen those effects. So before surgery you work to improve your mobility and strength.
If you or someone you know recently got injured, consider prehab. Schedule an initial evaluation with Perform Physical Therapy and Wellness to help your recovery.
By: Christie Hydar, SPT
Sports, Arthritis &. “Prehab: Why You Should Have Therapy before Surgery: Arthritis & Sports: Orthopaedics, Physical Therapy & Wellness.” Arthritisandsports, Arthritisandsports, 13 Apr. 2021, https://www.arthritisandsports.com/post/prehab#:~:text=Why%20is%20prehab%20therapy%20so,stronger%2C%20tend%20to%20do%20better.