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Four common post-surgery exercise myths that slow recovery

By Sinead Nolan
Physiotherapist at Life Ready Physio + Pilates Warwick


Following surgery, the speed and success of your recovery all depends on your rehabilitation. It’s challenging to know what you shouldn’t do, what you should do, as well as how much of it you should (or shouldn’t) be doing. 

At Life Ready, we know that your rehabilitation is one of the most important components of a successful outcome, and that the road to recovery really begins as you leave the operating theatre. We know what works, and we know what will slow things down. 

One of the most common misconceptions is that surgery recovery begins following your operation, and that physiotherapy can wait until the post-operative stage. This is a sure-fire way to delay your recovery and hamper your return to full function. Seeing your physiotherapist before your surgery is important to put together a treatment and recovery plan, and to ensure your body is optimally prepared. Putting work into mobility, strength and control before the operation will make things easier in the initial post-operative period and accelerate your return to full function.

Another barrier to recovery is delaying your post-operative physiotherapy. Many believe that rehabilitation can wait until your pain has settled or your post-op restrictions have been lifted. Regardless of the extent of your restrictions, there’s always something we can work on through physiotherapy to speed along your recovery. If you’re unsure of how soon you should be seeing your physiotherapist, give your local Life Ready team a call and we’ll be happy to offer professional advice.

In line with delaying physiotherapy after surgery, many people get caught out through the belief that they must rest and avoid all painful activities. The truth is that post-op, we must carefully work through a certain amount of pain to achieve certain goals. For example, following a knee replacement, you will need to complete some exercises that should be painful. With your physiotherapist’s guidance and supervision, you will develop an understanding of exactly how much you should be pushing yourself.

While underdoing it can slow down your recovery, overdoing it can also be detrimental. The mindset of “no-pain, no-gain” can creep into rehabilitation when we’re in a hurry to return to full function. However, in these early post-operative phases it’s important to create an excellent environment for healing. Overdoing it and pushing through high pain levels with insufficient rest can slow healing and prolong recovery. At Life Ready Physio, your physiotherapist will help you to find the perfect balance between overdoing it and underdoing it, to ensure you’re doing the optimal amount of rehabilitation while still allowing your body to heal and recover.

Recovery following any surgery can be daunting and stressful. There are rules to follow, pain to deal with and goals to achieve. It can also be difficult to know if you’re doing the right things, and doing enough of them, or if you are pushing yourself too hard. Having a close working relationship with your physiotherapist will ensure you have guidance and advice when you need it, helping ensure you get the most out of your rehabilitation. Through early input and precise programing, a Life Ready physio will guide you towards an excellent and timely recovery, why make a booking today?

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