Therapy for Post-Surgical Care

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If you’ve undergone surgery, chances are you’re experiencing pain, swelling, a loss of motion, and bruising following the procedure.  Getting moving after your surgery is one of the most important things you can do to help you return to your previous activity level.  An adequate physical therapy protocol can help you recover from the procedure faster and with less stress than if you simply remained in bed.

Advantages of  Physical Therapy Regimen After Surgery:

  • Quicker Recovery
  • Decreased Edema
  • Increased Range of Motion
  • Improve Strength
  • Decrease Pain
  • Less Medication Usage
  • Reduce Post-Surgical Complications

Movement after your surgery can help improve the blood circulation to your injury.  This increased blood flow can help deliver nutrients to your injury, helping you to heal faster.  It will also help pump out excess fluid or edema.  Edema reduction is the first priority after surgery.  The swelling or edema will take up space in your joint, limiting your range of motion, and giving a dull, achy or throbbing feeling.  It can also pres on nerves and cause a shooting, stabbing, numb, or tingling sensation.

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Exercising the part of your body that was operated on can help you increase the function faster than if you remained in bed to recover.  This allows you to increase the range of your motion, pump out the edema, and increase the strength of the effected muscles.  This improved strength is important because weakness in an area of your body can result in an increased likelihood of re-injury.  You may notice a period of soreness when performing the exercises initially.  This is normal, since you are not used to using those muscles.


It is important to have your exercise program designed by a trained professional to make sure you perform exercises in all needed areas as well as insuring that you do not harm yourself.  Physical therapists can also give you expert advice to help you get through your recovery easier.

Physical therapists can help with questions like:

  • When do I use heat or ice?
  • How can I sleep better?
  • How often should I exercise?
  • When can I go back to work?
  • When can I return to the gym/sports, etc?
  • Why did this pain start when you thought you were getting better?
  • When can I get rid of this cane or walker?
  • Who will win the UNC vs. NC State game? (Ok…maybe not this one)


Suffering an injury that requires surgery can be a stressful event in your life and recovering from the surgery itself can result in stress and worry about your future.  The exercises in physical therapy can have a benefit hat goes far beyond simply restoring you to your previous activity level.  These exercises can help restore your self-confidence by forcing you to do more than you thought was possible.  Physical therapy can help you restore your functions and return to the life you want to lead, all with the security of an expert by your side.  Even 1 or 2 sessions for education can make an extraordinary impact on your recovery time.  So if you or a loved on is planning on surgery, ask your doctor if physical therapy is right for you!  Let us help you, “Heal Your Body, Live Your Life!”


Blogger: Dr. Sara S. Morrison, PT, DPT, CDT, FCE, CFT, Cert DN, Cert FMT