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Optimize Post-Surgical Recovery with Larksfield Place “Pre-habilitation”

Monday, August 1 2016 3:37 PM

As we age (a biologic certainty), a number of changes occurs to our bodies.  The unkind truth is that we physically deteriorate in terms of muscle mass, bone density, flexibility and recuperative capacity.  The famed Fountain of Youth remains undiscovered, though medicine and science has evolved enough that we know that we can sustain our health better and slow certain physical declines. 

A simple method to maintaining higher levels of physical capacity with age is to “move”; to exercise.  Our bodies are mechanical in nature and thus, routine activity has benefits that enhance physical well-being and contribute to improved balance, increased muscle mass and stronger bones. For older-adults better balance, muscle strength and stronger bones are critical elements in reducing fall risk and increasing recuperative powers after a surgery or spell of illness.

The benefits of getting a program of activity and exercise developed?  Let’s start with improved bone density, lower blood pressure, increased balance, better sleep, and stronger muscles.  Thinking about a surgical procedure such as a hip replacement or knee replacement?  Your overall health and physical condition is directly correlated to your recovery, pain experience, and successful outcome.  A program of “prehabilitation” (rehab before surgery) can optimize your health, improve your strength and muscle tone, provide education, and strengthen your mental state such that your post-surgical recovery is quicker. According to the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, a program of therapy prior to joint replacement surgery shortened the inpatient recovery period (e.g, nursing home) by 29%.   Similarly, in a randomized trial, 84% of patients that had rehab before joint surgery were fully recovered to prior functional activity status or better at 8 weeks versus 62% without.

While the concepts of exercise and movement are simple, the application for an older-adult is not.  The “right” movement, the “right” exercise is important for safety and optimal results.  The message: seek a qualified exercise physiologist or physical therapist that specializes in older adults to develop the plan and provide the proper training.  In many cases, Medicare will provide coverage for a physical therapy evaluation and program of self-care, especially if the adult has underlying health conditions such as arthritis, osteoporosis, or heart disease. Larksfield has a full complement of facilities, therapy specialists and exercise professionals certified, specialized and experienced in working with older-adults. Whether it exercise or “prehab”, Larskfield is your “senior” resource.