How Soon After Surgery Should You Start Physical Therapy?

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Going through an operation of any size interrupts your life and makes it difficult to take on normal activities after the surgery. Many patients rely on physical therapists to get them back to their normal life.

How soon after surgery should you start physical therapy? Read on to learn the typical timeline for post-surgical physical therapy in Jersey City.

The Physical Therapy Timeline

The actual length of time you have to undergo physical therapy differs depending on the type of surgery you had and your health at the time of the procedure. For example, a young athlete who has knee surgery will recover faster than a grandmother receiving a hip replacement. In either case, both patients will experience similar issues like pain and swelling or limited range of motion.

These side effects will decrease over the following days and weeks through regular physical therapy.

First Week After Surgery

During this time, you’ll meet your physical therapist and discuss what types of stretches and exercise programs will best benefit your condition. You might start following simple exercises or stretches to start getting your body ready for full recovery. During this time, your physical therapist may prescribe other actions that you can take to make recovery easier, such as dietary programs or bathing instructions.

Depending on the type of surgery you had, your physical therapist might help you out of bed and start your exercises while you’re still in the hospital. Typical exercises might include practicing getting in and out of bed, walking up and down the hallway outside of your room, or going to the bathroom by yourself.

So what is the answer to, “How soon after surgery should you start physical therapy?” It depends on your surgery and health, but typically physical therapy starts within a few days of your operation.

First Four Weeks

At this point, you have probably returned home with instructions for working on your exercises and stretches on your own. Family members or friends may have their own instructions on how to help you or encourage you, making it easier for you to stay in good spirits as you recover. In the latter part of this timeframe, you’ll begin slowly resuming your regular activities.

Your physical therapy will focus on strengthening your soft tissues, forcing you to tense and relax your muscles and practice extending and retracting certain limbs. You’ll work on activities that give you back your independence, such as walking or climbing stairs without assistance. With the help of physical therapists and family members, friends, or caretakers, you can heal faster, minimize the severity of scar tissue, and reduce chronic pain. 

Returning to Daily Life

Each day that you practice your physical therapy exercises, you’ll regain more function of your body until you eventually get as close as possible to your pre-surgical condition. Even after you’ve returned to a normal lifestyle, your physical therapist will probably continue with your exercises to ensure that you have total control.

While you can go back to your normal daily activities, you may have new limitations on what you can do. Some injuries will return if you put too much stress on your body, sometimes requiring another surgery or additional physical therapy. Follow any aftercare instructions and ask your physical therapist if you’re unsure about whether you should perform a certain activity.

Get Back to Normal After Surgery With Exchange Physical Therapy Group

After you’ve experienced an operation, you want the best physical therapy possible to help you get back on your feet. From helping you relearn to walk to teaching you how physical therapy helps in strengthening the sacroiliac joint, our team at Exchange Physical Therapy Group can help. If you’re asking, “How soon after surgery should you start physical therapy?” call Exchange Physical Therapy Group in Jersey City, NJ, at (201) 721-6130. We’re ready to help with your needs.