After what seemed like ages of discomfort, you’ve finally been able to resolve your joint issues via surgical intervention. But now what? While the problem may be fixed, you’re still healing from the procedure and not quite at 100% functionality yet. This is where proper post-op care comes in. By taking care of your body and giving it the best chance possible to heal, you’ll be able to decrease recovery time and improve long-term results. For your convenience, we’ve put together some tips on how to help give yourself the best chance possible for a smooth and quick recovery:
1. Rest and recover. It’s important to give your body the time it needs to heal after surgery. This means getting plenty of rest and not pushing yourself too hard physically. It generally takes about 6 weeks to recover from major surgery, but always listen to the direction of your doctor.
2. Eat healthily and stay hydrated. Proper nutrition is essential for post-op recovery. Eating a healthy diet will help your body heal and repair itself more quickly. Staying hydrated is also key, so make sure to drink plenty of fluids throughout the day.
3. Exercise and stretch. While you don’t want to overdo it, some light exercise and stretching is actually beneficial for post-op recovery. It helps to increase blood flow and keep your joints mobile. Just be sure to check with your doctor before starting any kind of exercise program.
4. Post-Op Therapy and Rehab. Physical therapy is almost always an essential component of getting you back to full functionality and is typically recommended by your doctor. With the help of licensed physical therapists, such as our Rehab Department, you can strengthen the muscles around the injured area keeping everything primed and ready to go. Post-op physical therapy can improve mobility and strength, and shorten recovery time. (If your doctor has not prescribed physical therapy, be sure to check with them before implementing)
5. Alternate between ice and heat therapy. Applying ice or heat to the affected area can help reduce pain and swelling.
6. Take pain medication as needed. Don’t be a hero and try to tough it out. If you’re in pain, take the medication prescribed by your doctor. It’s there for a reason!
7. In addition to medication, ask your doctor about alternative pain reduction methods. They may have access to nontraditional treatments that can help you find relief such as PRP Therapy or Iovera°.
8. Don’t forget to take care of your mental health. The recovery process can be tough, both physically and emotionally. Make sure to talk to your doctor about any concerns you have.
9. Finally, make sure to keep all follow-up appointments with your doctor. This is important in order to monitor your post-op progress and catch any potential problems early on.
By following these tips, you’ll help give yourself the best chance possible for a smooth post-op recovery. Recovering from surgery may feel time-consuming, and at times even frustrating. Have patience and give yourself grace, and know that with proper care you’ll be back to your normal self in no time.
For more information on surgical and post-operative care options, schedule an appointment with Dr. Scott Strasburger through our online form or by calling 402.466.0100.