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What is Prehabilitation

As the name itself suggests is the preparation to improve the recovery time of a patient following surgery. This basically prepares the patient to achieve a higher level of fitness prior to surgery. It helps in early recovery from the debilitating effects of surgery. The patient is better acquaints with a post-operative rehabilitation treatment plan. The patient is able to recruit the muscles more efficiently post-surgery and perform the exercises at much ease.

Prehabilitation is a helpful tool in preventing injuries in high-end athletic activity. The predisposing factors to an injury in sports can be minimized by the prehabilitation of the athlete. This may include –

  1. Postural correction,
  2. correcting any fault in joint alignment,
  3. improving the flexibility and muscle control in the desired action,
  4. Biomechanical corrections,
  5. Improving core stability and movement patterns,
  6. Educating the athlete about the risks of a sport and methods to minimize it.

Prehabilitation helps in increasing the functional capabilities of a patient prior to and post-surgery. Similarly in sports help prevent injury and reduces the recovery time post-injury.

Importance of Prehabilitation

Rehabilitation is crucial for the recovery of a patient, however, prehabilitation holds its own benefits. It is the most neglected aspect of any surgery in India. Studies have shown that patients who undergo proper prehabilitation, show reduced levels of pain and recover in considerable quick time post-surgery.

In a study of patients undergoing spine surgery, the group of patients who underwent an integrated prehabilitation program showed better outcomes and shorter stays in the hospital.

It also reduces the post-operative rehabilitation treatment considerably, likewise, the cost a patient bear on rehabilitation.

According to Arthritis Today, a patient’s rehabilitation program for a knee procedure can reduce recovery time and reduce the need for post-surgery rehab in hospitals by up to 73%.

Orthopedic and sports cases, in particular, are benefitted from rehabilitation, as it is very effective in strengthening the muscles and improve the flexibility of soft tissue surrounding the site of orthopedic procedures or Sports Injury.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH):

“By improving an individual’s functional capacity through increased physical activity before an anticipated orthopaedic procedure, it seems reasonable to assume that the individual will maintain a higher level of functional ability and rebound more rapidly in the rehabilitation process. Prehabilitation is the process of enhancing the functional capacity of the individual to enable him or her to withstand the stressor of inactivity associated with an orthopaedic procedure. A generic prehabilitation program incorporates the components of warm-up, a cardiovascular component, resistance training, flexibility training, and practicing functional tasks”.

Some other components of Prehabilitation include:

  • Stress/emotional management,
  • Nutrition plans (e.g. improving diet to optimize nutrient intake)
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