If you have severe osteoarthritis then sometimes surgery for a joint replacement is your only option. This is getting better and better as the years go in and the replacement joints are lasting longer with more surgeons who are better trained and more experienced in the procedures. However something that is frequently overlooked is the preparation for any osteoarthritis surgery and, in my opinion, it is key to a fast recovery and a good long term outcome.
This 15 minute video demonstrates a hip replacement. (There is a bit of blood and gore for those of you of a nervous disposition!) You can see how the muscles, tendons and ligaments are pulled around which means these soft tissue get very bruised and sore afterwards.
When you have got to the surgery stage you are in a lot of pain every day so you will be reluctant to do much so your muscles progressively weaken. (Remember: Use it or loose it!) This means when they haul you out of bed after your surgery you have to strengthen them as well as heal them before you can even start to lead anything like a normal life again making your rehabilitation longer.
Prehabilitation for Osteoarthritis Surgery
I came across Barbara Carson’s story of prehabilitation for osteoarthritis surgery at the Almagest. Barbara has had both her knees and one hip replaced so she is a bit of an expert patient! However only with the second knee surgery she had prehabilitation. This is what she said about it:
“Prehabilitation helped me enormously,” said Carson, 70. “The personal attention kept me on track, so I felt far more prepared for surgery on my right knee than I was for the first one. The exercises made my knee stronger; my mind and body felt stronger.”
How Reduce Pain Now AND Be Ready If You Need Osteoarthritis Surgery
It’s simple: EXERCISE. By exercise I do not mean go for a walk, I mean do a specific set of exercises to stretch and strengthen the muscles, tendons and ligaments around your affected joint. These exercises need to be designed for someone with OA and also for the amount of degeneration you have.
I understand you hurt and using the joint is the last thing you want to do. But the soft tissue is inflamed and by treating them you will reduce the pain and stiffness you suffer now. Plus there is the added bonus of effectively doing prehabilitation so, if you ever do need osteoarthritis surgery you are ready to go!
In my books, How to Treat Osteoarthritis Naturally I have a multiple choice questionnaire so you do the correct number of exercises for the amount of degeneration you have. Each program starts slowly and builds up so they won’t aggravate your symptoms. They end with a maintenance program of about 20 minutes of exercises you do 3 times a week to hold you steady while you wait for surgery.
If you want to know if prehabilitation works for other joints as well as knees you can read about Joe’s hip here.
To get prehabilitation exercises to prepare for your osteoarthritis surgery click here. You get a targeted program of exercises for less than $20!