Purple yoga mat on wooden floor

If you’ve been scheduled for surgery to treat an existing injury, your medical practitioner may discuss prehabilitation options with you.

While rehabilitation aims to assist in your recovery post-surgery, prehabilitation acknowledges the importance of properly preparing your body for surgery. This aims to reduce post-operative complications and speed up the recovery process. 

Prehabilitation also refers to preventative training. Physiotherapists use preventative training to assist athletes in preventing injuries during their training sessions and matches.

Let’s look more closely at prehabilitation and how it can help you prepare for surgery, as well as prevent the need for surgery in the first place.

What is Prehabilitation?

Just as preventative dentistry focuses on preventing tooth decay in the first place, prehabilitation aims to prevent athletes from sustaining injuries to their bodies.

This applies is different ways depending on how you are using prehabilitation.

In the traditional sense, prehab involves targeted exercises and techniques to prepare you for surgery. For example, if you require knee surgery you might actually be prescribed knee exercises prior to the procedure. This aims to help you recover faster, making rehabilitation more efficient.

The other form of prehab is essentially a risk assessment. Your physio will analyse you and your physical activity to minimise the occurrence of injury.

Prehab for Surgery – in Action

Have you ever been asked to fast before a procedure or stop smoking in the lead up to surgery? If you have, then you have experienced some form of prehabilitation.

Prehab before surgery is a form of medical optimisation. It strengthens your body and prepares your system for the surgery and rehab that is to follow. You might be asked to do targeted exercises, to take up a different diet or to change some habits.

When working with a physiotherapist, you will probably be prescribed exercises that prepare you for surgery without further compromising your body.

Returning to the example of knee surgery, one study found that prehab knee exercises increased recovery time and reduced rehabilitation by up to 73%. That is prehabilitation in action!

Prehab for Prevention – in Action

For truly preventative prehabilitation, your physio will work closely with you to carry out injury risk assessments. After this, they will create customised training programs with the aim of preventing injury.

Your prehab physio plan will consider things such as:

·         The general risks of your sport or training and how to avoid them

·         Risks that are specific to your training sessions or your position on field

·         Your individual posture, flexibility, strength, core stability

By analysing this information, your physio can develop a targeted training program to help you avoid these general and specific risks. They can also improve areas of individual fitness in order to prevent injury.

This will assist you with improved performance and a lower injury rate as well as reducing the risks of surgery for a sports related injury.

The Benefits of a Prehabilitation Program for You

By seeking professional guidance, you’ll benefit from:

  • Improved posture

  • Greater flexibility

  • Correct muscle length imbalance

  • Correct joint alignment

  • Better core stability

  • Strength gains

  • Enhanced muscle endurance and power

High Quality Physiotherapy Services in Auckland

If you’re interested in finding out more about prehabilitation and how it can help prepare you for surgery, book an appointment with a qualified physiotherapist who specialises in sports injuries.

The PhysioReform team in east Tamaki can provide you with expert advice and a prehabilitation program that is tailor-made for you – call +64 9 273 6089 or simply register online.