Making the decision to have either total joint replacement surgery or another elective surgery is one that takes time and forethought to prepare your mind and body.
In my years working in the field of physical rehabilitation, I have found many that decide to go through with total joint replacement surgery find out once they get home that there is more to the procedure then what they may have expected.
To be properly prepared for total joint replacement surgery, there are pre-operative classes that you can attend at the hospital that you and your surgeon may have recommended for the procedure, however, there is more to the surgical process than the general information you will receive once you get home.
To help your surgical procedure go as smoothly as possible, I recommended your begin to prepare in three ways.
1. Become Physically Fit. Generally, due to joint pain, your overall physical fitness has suffered and you have become deconditioned. I recommend that you find an activity like stationary biking, water aerobics, and strength training to prepare for a smoother transition when it comes to your physical rehabilitation and maintaining your energy levels.
Your body will absorb a serious shock to it once you go through the procedure and the medications involved and by taking the time to get your body stronger prior to surgery, you can diminish the effects of the procedure.
Make sure you discuss this with your general practitioner and surgeon before you embark on an exercise program if you do not have experience in this area. This will depend on other medical issues you may or may not have and medical clearance may be required.
2. Become Mentally Tough. This is another area where I will find patients that had no idea that the pain, swelling or discomfort was going to be at the level it is. Of course, pain is subjective and some can mentally handle it better than others.
Learn to deal with the fact that even though the surgical procedures today have become minimally invasive, there will still be some pain and discomfort to deal with.
In other words, learn to be comfortable being uncomfortable for the first week to 10 days after surgery. Be mentally tough and disciplined to make sure you use your pain medication as prescribed and listen to your body for the signs and symptoms of chronic fatigue and pain due to overactivity as well.
And understand that being mentally tough during your recovery means doing the things you may not feel like doing, for instance, completing your home exercise program as prescribed by your physical rehabilitation professionals and resting for the recovery needed to ensure optimal strength.
3. Learn To Never Quit. This is an area that no matter what we are going through in life we need to heed importance too. I come across patients that become so frustrated with the events that may take place after surgery once they get home that they decide to back down or stop the physical rehabilitation process altogether.
This is non-negotiable after surgery as not having that mental toughness mentioned earlier to finish something can have negative repercussions later when it comes to your physical ability to functionally operate in your day to day activities.
Understand that whatever you are going through after your surgery will be temporary and that if you stay with the plans and goals set forth by your surgeon, physical rehabilitation specialist, and more importantly yourself, you will then begin to feel better and stronger and thankful you had the surgery performed to improve your overall quality of life.