Benefits of Physiotherapy Post Surgery

Undergoing surgery is a significant event in one’s life, often accompanied by nervous anticipation, uncertainty and fear. While the surgical procedure is necessary to help addresses specific health issues,  full recovery post surgery extends much further than what is done in the operation. Knee replacement, hip replacement or any other joint replacement will require some form of post surgery care to achieve the best result. Let’s look at some of the benefits of physiotherapy in a post surgery period.

Often after orthopaedic surgery, one is temporarily left in a state worse off than when they entered the operating theatre. There is the pain from the surgery and post operative precautions can limit how much people can do. All these can be the trigger for reduced strength, flexibility and function.

There can also be a significant increase in levels of fatigue as our body work in overdrive to help us heal after the surgery. All these symptoms combine together to make the post operative care a particularly turbulent and difficult time to overcome.

This is where the pivotal role of the physiotherapist after surgery comes into play. After an assessment of a patient’s condition, they can offer a multitude of factors that contribute towards a smooth post operative rehabilitation process where we eventually transition back to health.

Pain Management

One of the primary challenges post surgery is managing pain. Managing surgical wounds post surgery is a big part of recovering.

Physiotherapy employs various techniques to alleviate pain. Specific exercises, manual therapy, use of heat or cold therapy, ultrasound and TENS can all help provide relief after surgery.

By helping to reduce pain early on, patients can better engage in their rehabilitation and are more encouraged to participate in therapy to help provide a more positive recovery experience.

Swelling Reduction

After orthopaedic surgery and other types of surgery, swelling around an injury is a common symptom that most people will experience. Excessive swelling can limit how well people recover as it impedes movement, causes pain and is uncomfortable.

To manage swelling, post operative physiotherapy can utilise therapeutic exercises and manual techniques that promote improved blood circulation and help flush out excessive swelling build up.

This not only improves comfort but will help to enhances rehabilitation results.

Range of motion

Regaining joint range and balance is a key focus of post operative rehabilitation.

Through carefully designed exercises, patients work towards restoring a normal range of motion, preventing stiffness, and promoting better function.

A physiotherapist may give a stretching regime or other strengthening exercises to help regain one’s range of motion. This is particularly relevant for common surgeries involving joints or limbs.

Muscle strength restoration

Surgeries often lead to muscle weakness due to disuse or surgical trauma. A few weeks of immobility and surgical pain can  result in deterioration of muscle capacity.

Here is where physiotherapy programs can have a positive impact on restoring strength and thereby, physical function.

Physiotherapists will develop a targeted exercise program to rebuild power, balance and strengthen weakened muscles. This not only contributes to the overall recovery but also ensures that patients regain the strength needed for daily activities.

Respiratory discomfort

After a surgery, respiratory function is often reduced because of inactivity and the use of anaesthesia. Particularly in the elderly or those with respiratory related health illness, there is a higher risk of developing problems such as lung infections.

Post operative physiotherapy can play a crucial role in preventing post surgery complications.

Mobility retraining, along with breathing techniques, help reduce the risk of blood clots and respiratory issues from setting in.

Early and appropriate intervention by physiotherapists can significantly contribute to a smoother recovery process and prevent any complications that may delay return to daily activities.

Accelerated healing

Physiotherapy interventions after surgery are designed to stimulate tissue healing.

Through a combination of exercises, manual therapy, and modalities, physiotherapists create an environment conducive to faster rehabilitation, minimising recovery time and helping patients resume their normal lives sooner.

Scar management

Scar management is a large part of surgical recovery often overlooked. On top of the aesthetic appearance of a scar, scars that heal poorly can also affect function and flexibility.

A scar that has not healed correctly will often be sensitivite to touch, raised in appearance, thick and stiff.

The physiotherapist can not only help and reduce the appearance of scars but also enhance function by reducing the limiting factors of a poorly healed scar.

Using physio techniques such as massage and stretching, scar therapy can help effectively managed scars and to ensure they heal in a favourable manner.

Post operative physiotherapy and functional restoration

The ultimate goal of post operative rehabilitation is to restore normal function.

Physiotherapy prescribed exercises are structured to gradually progress from basic movements to more complex activities. This systematic approach ensures that patients regain the ability to perform daily tasks and activities essential for an independent and fulfilling life.

Patient education

In addition to hands-on interventions, physiotherapists provide invaluable education to patients.

Tasks that were easily completed prior to surgery often become difficult to manage.

Physiotherapists will help identify common areas people struggle after an operation and provide guidance on post operative care, self-management strategies, and lifestyle modifications that support optimal recovery.

Empowering patients with knowledge after surgery enhances their ability to participate in the rehabilitation process.

Physiotherapy after surgery

The benefits of post operative physiotherapy are broad but integral to a successful recovery journey.

From pain management, to restoration of function and patient education, your physiotherapist can contribute significantly to the overall well-being of individuals navigating the post surgical phase.

Physiotherapy recognises the multi-factorial components that support a successful recovery to help patients regain their full potential after surgery. At times a physiotherapist can work closely with a surgeon to get the best possible outcome.

If you have had surgery in the recent past, or if you know that you will be having surgery and want the best outcome for yourself, contact us on 0298753760, or book an appointment on our website.

Benefits of Physiotherapy Post Surgery

If you need physical therapy to relieve
your pain, and would like some more
information, feel free to contact us!

Give us a call on (02) 9875 3760 or email We would
be more than happy to help you.