Improve Post-Surgery Rehab with “Prehab”

With about a million knee and hip replacements performed each year in the U.S., physical therapist Paul Gardner says that it’s more important than ever for future joint replacement patients to create the best possible outcome for themselves after surgery. They can actually do this by beginning rehabilitation before surgery.

It’s called prehabilitation – a process during which a physical therapist prepares patients for joint surgery through a strengthening or range-of-motion program that helps set the table for a quicker and more successful rehab and recovery following the procedure.

“There is research indicating that some individuals who have greater strength and better range of motion will have a better outcome after the surgery,” says Gardner, Administrator of Innovate Physical Therapy.

A typical prehabilitation program will begin 4 to 6 weeks in advance of surgery. And, the benefits of such a program are many:

Strengthening the body: Establishing and executing an exercise program developed by a physical therapist and tailored specifically for the patient can help strengthen the body and integrate neuromuscular pathways before surgery. This can result in a shortened hospitalization stay and reduced recovery duration.

“Prehabilitation prior to joint replacement surgery,” Gardner says, “can reduce post-surgery rehab time by 25 to 50 percent. Since the body is stronger before surgery, it will also be stronger after surgery.”

Calming the mind: Prehabilitation is an opportunity for a physical therapist to prepare someone mentally for surgery, so they know what to expect. This can reduce pre-surgery stress levels. Education and knowledge can decrease the amount of stress and fear leading up to the procedure.

“There is a psychological benefit of having knowledge of what an individual is going to be working with,” Gardner explains. “There is also the benefit of function and quality of life. The better I am set up for after that surgery, I am going to be able to function at a higher level, which plays out with me being more satisfied.”

Accelerating the recovery: A portion of the prehabilitation process includes practicing exercises needed post-surgery, as well as modifying the home and becoming familiar with adaptive equipment. This may include rehearsing with a walker, crutches or cane in and around your home, and making modifications such as cleaning up clutter, increasing light, reorganizing the kitchen, or modifying a shower or toilet.

The physical therapist may also discuss ways to manage pain after surgery through positioning, ice, and massage techniques. Gardner says that it’s a good idea to reach out to your support system and organize a plan for after surgery, such as how to get the groceries or transportation to rehab.

Since many aging adults undergo joint surgery, the reality is that there are other chronic conditions to consider such as diabetes, hypertension or congestive heart failure. As specialists in aging adults, Innovate Physical Therapy is able to understand the conditions that are more prevalent in older adults, and to evaluate a person’s health regardless of the perception of age.

“We can look beyond age and understand the complex care that will be involved for each individual,” Gardner said, “and the assets that this individual possesses to reach a positive rehab outcome.”

To learn more about how prehabilitation can prepare you for surgery and improve rehab after the procedure, contact Innovate Physical Therapy at (402) 682-4210.

*Information provided in Innovate’s Therapy Thoughts newsletter and online blog posts is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace advice, treatment or a diagnosis from a certified medical professional. Please consult your health care provider with any health related issues.

Innovate Physical Therapy Offers Telehealth Services

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a lot of events being canceled, but that doesn’t mean you have to cancel your therapy appointments. With telehealth services, Innovate Physical Therapy can now bring the therapy you need to the safety of your own home. Through your smartphone, tablet or computer, your therapist can guide you through your therapy sessions through video appointments. Setting up telehealth is easy and our trained telehealth therapists are happy to help you every step of the way.

“Telehealth is a great way to provide clients with greater access to care, especially during this time when patients may not feel comfortable leaving their homes for appointments,” said Sarah Blomenkamp, PT, GCS, CEEAA, a physical therapist at Innovate Physical Therapy. “We are able to provide full treatment sessions with consistent input and coaching throughout.”

Telehealth services are more accessible than ever. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has made it easier for health care professionals to use telehealth services. Consequently, more and more insurance providers have begun covering telehealth services as the need for them has spread.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made it even more difficult to stay active. Right now, with so many places closed and fewer opportunities to stay active, it’s more important than ever to continue benefitting from physical and occupational therapy.

Don’t let COVID-19 stop you from staying active and healthy. Simply call us at (402) 682-4210 and we will help you determine if telehealth is the right step for you.

*Information provided in Innovate’s Therapy Thoughts newsletter and online blog posts is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace advice, treatment or a diagnosis from a certified medical professional. Please consult your health care provider with any health related issues.

Strength Training at Home with Innovate Physical Therapy

As we age, we tend to lose muscle mass, so it’s important to maintain a regular exercise routine. At Innovate Physical Therapy we work on strength training with nearly everyone because it helps in a variety of ways including balance, metabolism, overall independence and physical confidence.

Because of COVID-19, more and more individuals have begun working out at home, including Innovate Physical Therapy clients. As we work with our clients through our telehealth services, there are many strength exercises that we have adapted to fit your at-home needs. 

Fancy gym equipment is unnecessary for these exercises but it is still important to have good exercise protocols and form when working out at home. As you are doing strength training, remember to do a warm-up beforehand by walking around the house a few times or marching in place. While you’re strength training, be careful and don’t overexert yourself. Control your movements and do them slowly, making sure not to use momentum to move the objects.

“Stop if it gets painful,” said Sarah Blomenkamp, PT, GCS, CEEAA, a physical therapist at Innovate Physical Therapy. “But expect some muscle-burn as your body gets stronger and more used to the exercises. For strength training we want people working with a load that they feel is ‘somewhat hard’ to ‘hard.’” Perform reps until you feel fatigue in your muscles, and if it is too easy, then next time add a little more weight if you can.”

Here some exercises that you can do at home on your own.

  1. Find a piece of furniture that is somewhat heavy but moveable and push it across the floor while making sure not to scratch your floors. This exercise works your whole body, but especially your legs.
  2. Perform push-ups on a wall, high counter or lower surface. As you get stronger, make the surface more horizontal as you are able. This exercise is great for your upper body and ab muscles.
  3. Carry loaded laundry baskets throughout the house until you get tired. This is a great endurance strength training exercise that works your upper body. Just remember to maintain a good posture so you don’t strain your back.

Through Innovate Physical Therapy’s telehealth services, we can help you continue to build up your muscle mass while keeping you active and safe. For more information about our telehealth services and the strength training we offer, visit hillcresthealth.com or call (402) 682-4210.

*Information provided in Innovate’s Therapy Thoughts newsletter and online blog posts is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace advice, treatment or a diagnosis from a certified medical professional. Please consult your health care provider with any health related issues.

Welcome to Our New Website!

Hillcrest Physical Therapy is now Innovate Physical Therapy! Same great team. Same amazing results. We’ve updated our name to highlight our focus on providing therapy for all ages and care needs. We provide physical, occupational, speech, aquatic and massage therapy. Call today for a complimentary injury screening to see if outpatient therapy could benefit you — (402) 682-4210.