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  • Prehabilitation programs are designed to enhance the fitness and functional level of the patient prior to undergoing their procedure.
  • Prehab programs have been successful at reducing the post-operative time period.
  • Patients have reported less anxiety towards their medical procedure when they have participated in a Prehab program.
  • Prehab programs have been shown to be successful when they consisted of a minimal 30 minute bout of specific exercises.
  • Seek the advice and treatment from a Physical Therapist for a sound Prehabilitation program .

When most people think of Physical Therapy, they think of rehabilitation or rehab. Now many people are discovering the value of prehabilitation or prehab or visiting a Physical Therapist before a surgery or injury. Patients and healthcare professionals are turning to Prehab to prepare the body for the stresses and strains of major surgery. At the same time, athletes and other people are utilizing Prehab to reduce the likelihood of injuries during specific activities and events. Prehabilitation is a relatively new concept in healthcare and many insurance companies do not pay for it.

Pre-Surgery Prehabilitation

Prehabilitation has been shown to reduce the recovery time period and complications after surgery. The general conditioning that can be incorporated into a Prehab program can offset some of the detrimental side effects of these procedures the patient is better prepared and can handle it.

The time period that precedes a surgical procedure or a bout of chemotherapy can be a great time to prepare the body for the negative effects of the procedure. A body part that requires surgery will often times experience a loss of strength, motion and function. If the injury site is swollen, the muscles surrounding the injury site are prone to atrophy (loss of size and strength), and joint can lose motion and flexibility.   The neuromuscular activity at the injury site can be altered leading to a decrease in muscle activation.  If the procedure does not occur quickly and there is a lag in time between the onset of the injury and the surgical procedure the entire body can become deconditioned.

The use of a Prehab program is more common in orthopaedics than in most other areas of medicine.   The use of a Prehab program prior to a total knee or hip arthroplasty is common, but not all orthopaedic surgeons utilize the concept.

pt_instructorThe Prehab program is designed and implemented by a Physical Therapist.  It includes the use of modalities, manual techniques and exercises and activities that will reduce the symptoms and help to restore the function of the injured area. The program focuses on reducing symptoms such as swelling, pain, loss of motion and enhancing muscle and neuromuscular activity.

Another aspect of the program is the education of the patient that occurs while they are progressing through the Prehab program and preparing for the medical procedure or activity.  The patient is educated on what to expect during the post- surgical time period such as proper techniques on exercises, activities and activities of daily living (i.e. walking stairs with crutches).

In most cases, the use of a Prehab program will shorten the post-operative rehabilitation process. Many doctors are unaware of how effective the program can be for their patients, but you can visit a Physical Therapist without going to your doctor first.

Pre-Activity Prehab

A Prehab program can be used as a “pre” participation training program that is designed to prepare the person for the activity or event. No program is a guarantee to prevent an injury from occurring, but developing strength, proprioception and endurance can help. The program can be geared specifically towards an activity or event that someone plans to participate in.  By performing specific motions, activities and exercises, the body is better prepared to handle the stresses and strains of the upcoming event.

Prehabilitation programs are growing in popularity due to their success of preparing someone for an upcoming medical procedure or helping them to avoid suffering an injury during a specific event. The programs are relatively new and the general public, health insurance industry and healthcare providers must be educated in their importance and success when administered by Physical Therapist.