Recovering from Orthopedic Surgery

When it comes to undergoing orthopedic surgery, one of the most important things for a patient to consider is how they will handle the recovery period. Many orthopedic patients require extensive rehab after surgery, and a commitment to this process is often pivotal to a full and successful recovery. Some patients require much less time spent with a physical therapist as part of their rehab recovery, and this will be at the discretion of the orthopedic surgeon. 

Although surgery is generally the last resort if other less-invasive measures are not going to solve the problem, it is a very popular route back to optimum health. If an orthopedic doctor suggests surgery as the best route of treatment, then this is always the advice that should be adhered to. Before surgery is considered as a treatment option, it is likely that the orthopedic doctor in charge of a patients care will determine if the patient will be able to benefit from physical therapy or from a variety of medication, such as anti-inflammatory medications. It will also be investigated as to whether changes to a patient's lifestyle could help to rectify a problem, such as increasing the amount of exercise that they do or making changes to their diet.

Post-Surgery Processes

The amount of contact time a patient has with their healthcare professional following surgery can greatly aid the recovery process. This is because it is important to spot potential issues as quickly as possible so a solution can be put in place. This reduces the chance of an infection hindering the recovery process or a further complication developing.

The Benefits of Rehab

Following surgery, a period spent undergoing rehab is incredibly beneficial, and in many cases absolutely essential, to the recovery process. Rehab can be a fairly expensive process and it is always worth purchasing a health insurance policy that has good coverage in regards to this particular aspect of healthcare. Rehab will also generally require a lot of effort and commitment from the patient. If the patient isn’t willing to put their time and energy into aiding the healing process through rehab, then their quality of life and range of motion post-surgery could easily become compromised.

The benefits of post-surgery rehab are not to be overlooked and not engaging with this part of the recovery process can leave the patient with additional problems.

A high quality rehab regime will:

  • Increase the circulation around the body
  • Help to prevent blood clots
  • Encourage normal movement in the joints
  • Lower pain levels
  • Combat swelling and excessive inflammation
  • Reduce the amount of time it takes to recover

Although rehab will have to be conducted by a trained specialist, there are also things that a patient can do at home to aid the recovery process. The combination of treatment under the supervision of a professional, and exercises undertaken in the patients own home unsupervised, will work together for the best possible result.

Strength building exercises that can be done in the home without any equipment are great for post-surgery recovery. This can involve lifting light weights as well as simply taking the time to be active each day. Walking around the home is fine for patients who do not yet feel ready to take this exercise outside, and by making an effort to slowly walk around the home, patients will likely decrease the amount of time it will take to get back to normal!

A patients pain levels and ability to move will largely influence how soon after their surgery they can begin the process of rehab. If a patient is not experiencing a great level of discomfort, then it is normal for the doctor to advise that they get out of bed the day following their surgery and try to take a few steps. This level of activity can then be increased slowly until a professional physical therapist can take over the rehab process.

What Else Can Aid The Recovery Process?

In addition to sticking to a strict rehab schedule and taking the time to supplement these activities, patients can also look to make lifestyle changes post-surgery to help with recovery.

The importance of nutrition should not be overlooked. Your body will need all of the help available to come through this difficult time and get back to normal at the end of it. When you do not provide your body with the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that it needs, it is much less able to continue to function as it should. This means that your energy levels will drop, your mood will be affected and you are then at a higher risk of illness and disease.

Aiming to include a range of plant-based foods in your daily diet, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds can play a huge role in upping your nutritional intake. You should also work to eradicate unhealthy foods from your diet, such as foods that are high in saturated fat.

References

1) http://www.webmd.com/osteoarthritis/rehab-important

2) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23032682