Most of us think of physical therapy as re-habilitation, but there is a growing trend in medicine and physical therapy to pre-habilitate patients prior to surgery. Prehabilitation, or pre-hab for short, is an exercise regime designed to prepare a surgical patient to optimize a successful outcome and a quicker recovery.
Generally, the more fit you are prior to surgery, the faster you are to bounce back. Think of it as a surgical conditioning program that trains your muscles in advance for the exercises needed post-operatively. This practice is especially common in orthopedic surgery. Ideally a six-week lead time prior to surgery can result in the most benefit.
It might be difficult to imagine exercising an already painful shoulder, knee or other joint. Physical therapists are trained in the planned, carefully executed programs needed to improve mobility and ease joint pain. Even the most fragile of patients can benefit from pre-hab.
Most shoulder problems involve the muscles, ligaments and tendons rather than bones. Pickleball or tennis anyone? Repetitive movements can aggravate an already-stressed shoulder, and many of us choose to ignore the pain and play through it. Beware of compensating for an injury and excusing the joint limitation as age-related or simply a “touch of arthritis.” Some common categories of shoulder injuries are:
- Instability: The shoulder joint moves out of its normal position.
- Impingement: The acromion rubs against the tendon or bursa. If you raise your arm to shoulder height and feel irritation or pain, this is impingement.
- Rotator cuff: Minor or major pain from the front of the shoulder to the side of the arm can indicate a rotator cuff injury.
The highly trained physical therapists at the Medical Center are seeing more and more shoulder injuries this season. Physical Therapist Christine Langley says, “We are running blue-light specials this season on shoulder injuries!” If you are experiencing shoulder pain, schedule an evaluation with the Medical Center’s Physical Therapy Department to avoid further injury. Call 305-367-2600 or schedule an appointment online.
One enthusiastic “glad to see you” backslap or shoulder grip can leave a friend not so enthusiastic about seeing you! Shoulder injuries are lingering, and pain frequently radiates in other areas of the upper arm, back and even toward the neck muscles. Moral of the story: Gentle greetings, my friends!