If recovery from orthopedic surgery, such as joint replacement or fracture repair, is a challenge you are facing or will soon face, you will surely be striving to get through the experience and back to normal as quickly as possible. If you have expressed that desire to your healthcare team, chances are that orthopedic rehabilitation has been suggested to you as a means of hurrying the process along. So does it really help? Can orthopedic rehabilitation speed your recovery?
A body of clinical research says that it can. Among that plethora of research attesting to the effectiveness of orthopedic rehabilitation is a study published in The Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, which compared the clinical outcomes of knee replacement patients who participated in intensive rehabilitation programs to a control group of patients that did not.
Results of that comparison, which followed patients for a period of 52 weeks after surgery, showed that a high-intensity orthopedic rehabilitation program produces superior short-term and long-term results in terms of strength and function. Patients in the high-intensity rehab program recovered more quickly than the control group, had less pain, achieved better range of motion and greater levels of mobility and endurance—these patients showing marked recovery advantages over the control group in these areas beginning just 3.5 weeks after surgery. Other studies have shown comparable results in hip replacement patients.
These and many other clinical studies show that orthopedic rehabilitation can make a big difference in terms of how long you'll spend recovering after orthopedic surgery or injury. These programs can also improve the quality of your recovery, helping to ensure better gains in mobility, function and pain reduction. However, if jump-starting your recovery is your goal, it is important to note that intensive therapy is the key to those faster, better results, and that means an inpatient program is your best bet. Inpatient orthopedic rehabilitation programs are able to offer a higher level of therapy and care than the typical outpatient program can. Rather than seeing a therapist at an outpatient clinic two or three times a week for an hour or two, enrolling in an inpatient program means receiving a minimum of 3 hours of therapy daily.
Inpatient services also offer all-day access to rehab equipment and facilities, as well as the consistent support, supervision and guidance of a team of rehabilitation specialists. In short, inpatient orthopedic rehab offers the intensive, comprehensive medical and rehabilitative care you need to get back on your feet as quickly as possible, speeding up your recovery for a faster, more successful return to a healthy, active lifestyle.