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Although the best orthopedists (including the orthopedic team at Prima CARE) are passionate about providing the least invasive treatments possible for musculoskeletal injuries and conditions, some patients still require surgery to achieve a full, lasting recovery. For many people who opt for orthopedic surgery, physical therapy seems like a small additional step tacked onto the end of their procedure.

The truth is, regardless of what your surgery was for, physical therapy is a vital part of your recovery. At Prima CARE, we want our patients to understand why physical therapy is so important to restoring their musculoskeletal system to full function following an orthopedic procedure:

  1. Prevent Further Injury

If you’ve already received surgery to correct your musculoskeletal system after an orthopedic injury, the last thing you want is to injure yourself again. Unfortunately, having injured a bone, joint, or muscle once before can actually make that area more prone to reinjury. Surgery is traumatic to your body in and of itself, and inactivity following the procedure can result in muscle atrophy(opens in a new tab). Without a full and effective rehabilitation period with a physical therapy specialist, your muscles will fail to regain the necessary strength to support your affected area, making it even more prone to further injury. Physical therapy is absolutely essential to ensure your safe return to work, play, and other physical activities following your surgery.

  1. Ease Pain, Reduce Swelling

Swelling after surgery can serve a very important purpose. Swelling is a tool the body uses to heal; white blood cells are sent to the injured area where they then release enzymes to help repair the damage. This in turn can cause redness, heat, and pain from all the excess blood in the area. This pain can also be an important part of healing, believe it or not. The pain caused from the rush of blood compressing nerves encourages us to leave the injury alone or to not use the part of our body that is injured, ideally preventing the injury from getting any worse.

However, sometimes our bodies can go a bit overboard. Simply put, swelling that happens immediately after an injury—in this case, surgery—is helpful, but late swelling can be rather harmful. Those enzymes released by the white blood cells break down tissue so that rebuilding can occur, but if they stick around for too long, those enzymes will start attacking healthy tissue, as well. Moreover, that prolonged inflammation and the pain that comes with it can cause muscle atrophy or chronic swelling. Chronic swelling causes affected tissue to become rigid, which in turn can make injuring that part of the body easier.

With the help of a physical therapist, this can be prevented. Certain exercises can help to decrease existing swelling as well as prevent pain from becoming a chronic issue.

  1. Get Your Body Back

By the time you have orthopedic physical surgery, your body has already lost some of its functionality from the time of injury. During physical therapy, you’ll receive guidance in restoring that functionality, giving you control of your body and allowing you to return to full form. Some of the most important muscular functions physical therapy helps to restore include:

  • Strength
  • Mobility
  • Balance

Additionally, a physical therapist can help guide you through the proper techniques for moving your affected area, which can help reduce scarring from your procedure.

  1. Get Back in the Game

While not all orthopedic injuries happen as a result of athletic activity, many of them do, and if you’re an athlete, your primary goal following surgery will likely be to get back on the field, court, diamond, or wherever the game you love takes place. If you’re not an athlete, your injury and subsequent surgery has likely still been an impediment to your ability to participate actively in many of the things that make life fun. When you take physical therapy seriously as part of your treatment, you can work with your specialist to establish specific goals geared toward helping you return to whatever makes you happy at the end of your rehabilitation period.

At Prima CARE, our team of highly-trained, board-certified orthopedic surgeons are focused on providing you the targeted treatment you need to correct your injury, make a full recovery, and get back to the things you love. If you’re struggling with pain, discomfort, or loss of mobility following an injury, don’t wait. Schedule your appointment today or call (744)375-0504 for more information.