Post-Surgical Rehabilitation

Post-surgical rehabilitation is a very broad and diverse branch of medicine because there are so many different orthopedic procedures performed regularly.

Fortunately, there are excellent orthopedic surgeons throughout Hallandale, Hollywood, and Aventura, and surrounding South Florida areas, but choosing your post-surgical rehabilitation provider is just as important as choosing your surgeon.

Many individuals undergo an orthopedic procedure such as a spinal fusion, knee replacement, or fracture repair and are prescribed some form of rehabilitative therapy that generally uses a cookie-cutter approach based upon protocols.

The cookie-cutter approach to rehabilitation generally falls short because there is not enough individual attention placed on the patient, their starting point, and how they responded specifically to the procedure and rehabilitation.

Just as each patient is different, the early procedure is different, and each area of the body will require certain priorities during therapy.


Post-rehabilitation after back and neck procedures

Common back and neck procedures include:

  • Spinal fusion
  • Vertebroplasty
  • Discectomy
  • Spinal laminectomy
  • Spinal Decompression
  • Artificial Disc Replacement

The majority of surgical procedures for the spine are generally centered around either removing bone or tissue to free up space for the spinal cord and nerve or to bring stability to an inherently unstable area.

Having an invasive procedure for your spine should be taken very seriously, and it is not only critical that you proper rehab but also prehab for the procedure.

The more healthy and stable your spine is going into surgery, the better recovery outcomes you are likely to have.


How can chiropractic care help you after a back and neck procedure?

If your healthcare team has determined that surgery is your best option to resolve your spinal complaint, be sure that you have a clear plan of action for which provider you are going to see following your surgery to ensure a smooth and efficient rehabilitation process.

Sports chiropractors, such as ours at Miami Spine and Performance, can assist you from days after the surgery through your first-year post-surgery.

The initial phase is generally centered around pain relief and movement education.

After the first phase of rehabilitation, gentle mobilization and stability exercises are integrated into therapy to strengthen the muscles around your procedure start to improve your range of motion.

After the manual therapy and stabilization phase, your clinician will work with you to return you to the activities you love by using activity-specific rehabilitation as well as chiropractic adjustments to the areas around your surgery to restore spinal motion and make your spine healthier and durable than ever.


Post-rehabilitation for upper extremity procedures

Common Upper Extremity procedures include:

  • Rotator Cuff repair
  • Labral repair
  • Shoulder Replacement
  • Ulnar Nerve Decompression
  • Radius/Ulnar fracture repair
  • Carpal Tunnel Release
  • Dupuytren’s contracture fasciectomy

The shoulder is one of the most operated on joints of the upper extremity and body as a whole. Because the shoulder has such a large range of motion and an intricate stability structure, the small, supportive tissues of the shoulder, such as the labrum and rotator cuff, can easily become damaged and in many cases, require surgical repair.

There are also several nerve entrapment conditions at the elbow and wrist that may require surgical intervention to free up space for the nerve and reduce symptoms down the arm and into the hand.

It is recommended that before undertaking any surgery for the upper extremity that you have a thorough mechanical evaluation from a provider trained in mechanical diagnosis and therapy, such as the chiropractic physicians at Miami Spine and Performance.

Mechanical diagnosis and therapy examination is designed to determine whether or not your condition is from the spine, and if your extremity injury is a rapidly resolvable condition termed a ” joint derangement.”

Because soft tissue injuries indicated on MRI are very common in the active population, particularly above 40%, an in-depth mechanical exam must be done to confirm the findings of the imaging.

How can chiropractic care help after an upper extremity procedure?


After a soft tissue, joint space, or nerve has been operated on in the upper extremity, the first step in rehabilitation is to allow the body to heal naturally and focus on pain support.

It is normally necessary to take the first few weeks following surgery to rest, support and ice the area if necessary. Once the initial healing phase is over and pain is reduced after the procedure, the first phase of care begins with improving range of motion in the upper back, shoulder, and shoulder blade (scapula) through hands-on manual therapy, chiropractic adjustments, and gentle strengthening exercises.

Once baseline range of motion has been established, the provider will provide and program a general, advanced, and, if necessary, a sport-specific rehabilitation program that will include both in-office therapy as well as a program to be performed at home for quicker progress to full function.

If you are recovering from an elbow, hand or wrist procedure, seeing a chiropractic physician can get you back to what you love. A large percentage of the conditions operated on throughout the upper extremity is to relieve nerve pressure. Chiropractic physicians at Miami Spine and Performance and trained in manipulation techniques as well as Active Release Technique designed to allow all of your joints and soft tissues to move together and allow your nerves to function optimally!


Post-rehabilitation for lower extremity procedures

Lower extremity procedures include:

  • Hip Replacement
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Repair
  • Medial Cruciate Ligament (MCL) Repair
  • Medial Meniscus Repair
  • Knee Arthroscopy
  • Achilles Tendon Reattachment
  • Mortons Neuroma
  • Bunionectomy

A large percentage of lower extremity surgical procedures involve a replacement of the hip joint or a repair of one of the knee ligaments (ACL, MCL, LCL), as well as several minor procedures for the foot and ankle. Each procedure is different, which is why there must be a great dialogue between your surgeon and your conservative rehabilitation physician.

Recovery from lower extremity surgeries differs from the spine or upper extremity in that a wheelchair and or crutches will be required for some phase of your post-surgical rehabilitation. For this reason, it is particularly important that before you partake in surgery you consult movement-based chiropractors, such as the doctors at Miami Spine and Performance, to have a pre and post-surgery recovery plan in place.


How can chiropractic care help after a lower extremity procedure?

 In cases of hip, knee and foot/ankle procedures, it is imperative that shortly after your procedure you begin rehabilitation. After the first few weeks of healing, the range of motion of the joint surgical joint must be prioritized via passive mobilization and eventually active therapy.

Having to take months to recover a joint from surgery is a great opportunity to strengthen the surrounding areas and ensure that when all the tissues have healed, there is an optimal environment for that area to function.

One of the most overlooked aspects of lower extremity rehabilitation is not integrating return to activity rehabilitation. Often, individuals will be discharged from rehab once they have a baseline level of strength and motion, but continue to struggle to return to their sports or activity of choice. The physicians at Miami Spine and Performance are trained in several performance-based rehabilitation methods such as Functional Range Conditioning (FRC) and Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization (DNS).

Take the next steps for your post-surgical care

If you are preparing for surgery, recovering from surgery or are struggling to return to the activities you love, please give us a call for a consultation with one of our movement centered chiropractic physicians in Hallandale Beach!

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