By Ellen Phillips
Physiotherapist at Life Ready Physio + Pilates Bayswater
Surgery can be a daunting experience that can force you to put life and work on hold while you recover. The process of determining the success of a surgery doesn’t end when you leave the operating theatre, though there are things you can do to make your recovery as quick and successful as possible.
Your body needs energy to heal and repair itself post-surgery. This energy is derived from nutrition – the food we eat and drink. It is important to stay hydrated, drink plenty of water and maintain a healthy, balanced diet. Specific dietary requirements and restrictions may vary depending on the surgery you’ve had. However, generally speaking, eating plenty of fruits and vegetables and avoiding overly processed foods full of sugar and saturated fat is recommended.
Sleep is an important part of surgery recovery but prolonged periods in bed can lead to complications. As soon as you get the all-clear by your doctor, get walking! Lying in bed for longer than recommended can put you at greater risk of blood clots/DVT, pressure ulcers and muscle weakness. General post-surgery exercise is also beneficial as it speeds up your digestion, which can become sluggish after surgery and helps your lungs recover from anesthesia.
Completing your exercise rehabilitation is a crucial part of a successful surgical recovery. It will help you to regain your strength, flexibility, mobility, balance, and prevent scar tissue from forming. It can also help to decrease and manage pain, without excessive use of pain medication.
Physiotherapists are familiar with most post-operative protocols prescribed by orthopaedic surgeons and can liaise with your surgeon for any specific requirements regarding your rehabilitation.
Common surgery sites include the hip, knee, ankle, shoulder, elbow, wrist, back and spine. Each area requires different exercises to optimise rehabilitation and regain full function. Physiotherapists are able to ensure your exercise is tailored specifically to your goals. They’ll ensure you can complete your rehabilitation and progress safely as you regain your strength and function.
The prospect of recovery after surgery can be a daunting prospect, however, physiotherapy after surgery combined with good nutrition, quality sleep, exercise and maintaining a healthy lifestyle will lead to the best outcomes and quickest recovery. This will enable you to return to regular work, recreation and normal life as soon as possible.
For more information or to book in for an initial assessment, call your local Life Ready Physio + Pilates clinic. We look forward to helping you achieve your health and fitness goals!