Rehabilitation before surgery is often referred to as prehab or pre-habilitation. Rehabilitation can be used both before and after surgery. While the after-surgery version is most common, using rehabilitation prior to your surgery can be very beneficial.

What is Prehab?

Prehab or pre-habilitation is a type of exercise your doctor will have you do before surgery. This type of physical therapy can help to relieve pain and help your body heal faster. It is a process of using exercise to optimize the physical function of the impacted area of your body.

With prehab, you can gain a better range of motion and function during and after your surgery. This type of physical therapy will likely include strength training, aerobic exercises, and functional training.

Benefits of Using Prehab

There are many excellent benefits you can gain from using rehabilitation before your surgery. Some of the main benefits you can gain include:

  • Increases the strength of your muscles
  • Better posture
  • Increased flexibility
  • Better joint alignment
  • Increase range of motion
  • Greater balance
  • Better stability in your core

These benefits can help with the rate of recovery after surgery. When you use prehab, you gain the ability to return to better levels of function and strength from before the surgery.

Should you Use Rehabilitation Before Surgery?

As you work with your doctor to figure out the best treatment for your injury, you might consider prehab. This type of exercise program offers a great way to better prepare for surgery. It can also provide many benefits after the surgery.

Surgery puts a rather significant toll on the body. The tissues around the damage being fixed can be damaged during surgery, as well. Plus, once surgery has been done, you will need all your body’s energy to recover. This leaves very little left to maintain the strength and endurance you currently have.

Immobilization follows after surgery. While this can help with healing, it can also cause a rapid loss of strength in the muscles and control and balance. If you choose to use prehab, you can minimize the damage of surgery and return to normal faster.

How Effective is Prehab?

If you are dealing with a hip or knee replacement surgery, some studies have shown prehab can reduce the need for inpatient rehabilitation quite a bit. Undergoing prehab for around six weeks before surgery might help you avoid needing inpatient rehabilitation. It can help to stabilize the level of pain before surgery, as well.

Those using prehab can get back on their feet faster. Even if you underwent knee replacement surgery, you need to be able to walk, with help, to the bathroom or hallway. It is also common for those with better fitness to require less time in the hospital and fewer outpatient rehab sessions.

There are many benefits you can gain from rehabilitation prior to your surgery. Depending on the type of surgery you will undergo, you might be able to use prehab as a part of your recovery. It might seem backward, as recovery usually happens after surgery. However, prehab can help with the recovery process if it is used properly.