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Each year in the United States, tens of millions of surgeries are performed. According to Stanford Health Care, there were approximately 48 million surgeries performed in 2009 alone. Of those, 7.3 million were cardiovascular system surgeries, 6.1 million were digestive system surgeries, and 5.2 million were musculoskeletal surgeries.


Of course, depending on the surgery performed (in addition to many other health-related variables), a patient’s recovery plan will be unique to their condition. Although many require rest, there is an underutilized treatment option that many patients don’t take advantage of. To speed recovery and prevent other issues from popping up, it’s important to get physical therapy after surgery.


Whether a patient aims to improve their range of motion, improve everyday functioning, or simply improve their quality of life, physical therapy should be a requirement post-surgery.

Why is physical therapy needed?


Although highly effective, many patients are unsure if physical therapy is the best solution for them and their health condition. A classic example would be someone who just underwent hip surgery. In many cases, these patients will be instructed to rest and will be prescribed various medications to reduce pain and swelling.


At first, many believe that physical therapy will do more harm than good — which could not be further from the truth. Following surgery, your soft tissues, bones, and/or muscles all go through a significant healing process. If you fail to use your joints effectively, this can cause improper healing. In turn, this can lead to poor range of motion, reduce flexibility, and poor long-term joint function.


Just some of the core benefits associated with physical therapy include, but are not limited to:


  • Regain mobility — After surgery, your joints and muscles will likely become stiff, reducing your range of motion. This can make everyday tasks difficult. By effectively following a physical therapy recovery plan, patients will significantly improve their mobility.
  • Support healing — By performing key exercises, you will be able to improve circulation and enhance healing. Not only will you enhance the delivery of key nutrients to the site of injury, but also remove the build-up of fluids.
  • Reduces your reliance on medications — Last year, the Physiotherapy Association of B.C. stated that they could help alleviate the opioid crisis through the implementation of physical therapy. Many immediately opt for a drug plan, without considering the positive impact of physical therapy.
  • Improve balance — By strengthening your muscles and joints, you can actually prevent a fall due to improved balance. Physical therapy is a proactive solution against a possible injury in the future.

Why you should seek out physical therapy soon after a surgery?


The best time to act is now. Getting an assessment after having surgery will allow physical therapists to customize a recovery plan for you. Waiting to consult a physical therapist could result in additional problems to your physical health.


At Doctors United, we understand the needs of our patients. Our goal is to change the lives of our patients through better health. Not only will we work with you and your schedule, but we happily accept MEDICAID and all other insurance plans. We strive to improve and support your health through healthier lifestyle choices so that you no longer need to rely on drugs.


If you are interested, please view our current locations and book an appointment today!

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