Four Mistakes to Avoid After Surgery


Advances in medicine are quite remarkable today and most patients have multiple options in dealing with a variety of medical problems. Surgery is almost always the last choice. When it comes time to cross that bridge you want to make sure you do everything possible in order to have a GREAT outcome. The surgery itself is normally just the first step in the process. Many patients are not aware of what is required following surgery in order to have a full recovery. Since 2003 Johns Creek Physical Therapy has helped a variety of people deal with their surgical recovery. In that time we have identified FOUR mistakes people often make that prevent them from having a successful recovery.


One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to let pain get in front of you. Most of our patients tell us they do not want to take any more medication than they have to. Many will not take their pain meds almost to a fault. Once pain gets in front of you, it can be difficult to catch up with. We refer to this as “treating Four Mistakes to Avoid Following Surgery from behind.” It’s very tough to have a successful recovery when you are constantly dealing with pain. Most surgeons will adequately prescribe pain medication so you are not suffering. If your medication is not handling the pain, be sure to let your doctor know.


Early range of motion has become recognized as one of the most important things you can do in recovering from any surgery. Some procedures DO require periods of immobilization while others demand movement following the procedure. It’s important to know the right exercises in order to get moving while at the same time protect the surgery. This is why you need guidance and professional help. Simple handouts from the doctor might get you started but there is still risk in messing up a long surgical procedure by doing something wrong or misunderstanding the directions. Knowing when to progress thru the different phases of the exercises is also important and individual. We highly recommend you seek the guidance from a Licensed Physical Therapist who has experience in dealing with your specific surgery.


It’s human nature to look around, see how someone else is doing and wonder when you will do as well. We all know everyone is different and rarely does anyone start at the same place in their recovery. Comparing your progress to someone else can be discouraging. Focus on your own goals and commit your energy to a successful recovery.


This is as big a mistake as choosing the wrong physical therapist. When you stop going to therapy before you are finished you run the risk of not reaching your potential in your recovery. You also put other areas at risk as your body will compensate when one area is not working as it should. I remember distinctly when “John” disappeared just a few weeks into his Achilles tendon rehab. He was barely off crutches but went back to work and never returned to complete his care. He showed up two years later with a herniated disc in his back. He had failed to regain the strength in his leg to walk properly and the altered mechanics of his gait pattern were to blame for his new back problem. This could have easily been avoided had he just stuck with it.

Most surgeries are done without incident but the surgery is only step one. Step two is to hire the best physical therapist you can find who will guide you thru your recovery and help you achieve your goals. Whether you are looking at surgery in your future or have just had your surgery, choose your therapist carefully. Remember, YOU ultimately have the final say in where you go for treatment.

The Team at Johns Creek Physical Therapy will be personally invested in your recovery. Last year we proudly accepted the award by Appen Media as The Best Physical Therapy Practice in North Atlanta. We invite you to call our office and schedule a consultation.

Office: 770-622-5344

4060 Johns Creek Parkway, Suite H

Suwanee, GA 30024