Over the past couple of years, I’ve had the opportunity to provide in-home physiotherapy services for patients after various orthopaedic surgeries. Some of these patients required immediate surgery or surgery a week or two after the date of their injury. Other patients knew the date of their surgery ahead of time. It is with these patients that I ask whether they’ve completed any pre-surgical rehabilitation or “prehab”.
A few reasons why I am an advocate of prehab:
1) Advice and education
– you will gain knowledge regarding the stages of rehab and the stages of healing, know when it is appropriate to apply ice and when it is appropriate to apply heat, etc.
– you will receive advice/various strategies on how to cope with pain
– you will understand that it is sometimes normal to have moderate-severe pain post-surgery. Everyone has a different pain threshold
– you will already know in advance what exercises you should be focusing on and capable of doing in the first two weeks after surgery
– alleviate any fears/concerns that you may have about the rehab (ie. how to use specific mobility aids like crutches, sleeping positions, whether driving is still allowed, precautions & contra-indications etc.)
2) Baseline assessment
– Baseline outcome measures during the assessment will give you an idea of what you need to improve on post-surgery; whether it is balance, range of motion, strength, coordination, or overall conditioning.
– Gives you an idea of how much effort will be required of you post-surgery. For example, some patients might get away with doing exercises once a day because they exercise regularly already but others will need to do their exercises two to three times a day to see optimal results/improvements in their outcome measures
3) Mental preparation
– This ties back into the first two points. If you have adequate knowledge of the surgical procedure, the stages of healing/rehab exercises, strength/weaknesses from your assessment, then there is less to worry about going into the surgery. There should be no reason to panic if you have been given proper, thorough advice from your allied health professional
– Prehab is also a the perfect time to have friends/family demonstrate what exercises they need to help out with and also how to don on/off a knee brace/shoulder sling, etc. By having your family/social circle sit in on a few prehab sessions, you feel more reassured because multiple individuals can assist you immediately if you have any doubts or concerns about what you need to do post-surgery.
If you have any questions or concerns, do not hesitate to come in for a consultation to speak with our excellent practitioners at Lawrence Park Health.