Rehab, Pre-hab, or both?

Rehab or prehab? Or both? 


Many people think that Physical Therapy is post-operative rehab for those who have undergone surgery, or maybe for someone who’s had a stroke or been hospitalized and has become weak. While it is all those things, it is also so much more.

       Will you or a friend or loved one be having surgery this year?

Something most people do not consider, which Physical Therapy does so well, is PREHAB. What’s that? If you are looking at having hip, knee, shoulder or back surgery, seeing a physical therapist for a course of treatment BEFORE surgery can greatly enhance your recovery after surgery by improving the strength and flexibility of the muscles and soft tissues surrounding the area to be operated on, thus teaching your muscles the motor patterns required for strengthening post-operatively, before you are dealing with the inevitable swelling and pain that surgery will cause which affects the ability of the muscles to contract and learn new motor patterns.

 If you have tight structures on one side of the joint due to compensation that you may have been doing leading up to surgery, this can be dealt with during prehab and make the recovery period quicker and easier, not having to spend time dealing with imbalances in your soft tissues when you are wanting to focus on getting a newly operated-on joint to move better.

Going to a joint rehab class prior to surgery can be helpful, but spending a few sessions with a physical therapist who can give you one-on-one attention and teach you things that will be very helpful and beneficial to you in your recovery, can make all the difference. I often come across people who have felt ill-prepared for surgery even after attending a class and have been very surprised at how hard they must work after surgery to regain their strength and flexibility and be able to return to work, sporting and recreational activities without pain or difficulty.


Here’s how prehab has helped one of my recent patients: She knew she needed to have a hip replacement sooner or later, but she loved to bowl, so she wanted to wait until the off-season to have her surgery. She also wanted to continue bowling right up until the off-season, so she came to me to help her keep her hip and the surrounding muscles and connective tissues in the best possible shape while she was dealing with the discomfort of a degenerative joint. Muscle strengthening, posture correction, pelvic balancing and myofascial release performed at Vital Life Physical Therapy kept her bowling through the end of the season right up until her surgery. She resumed therapy the week after her hip replacement and 6 weeks later she was back to bowling. That would not have been the case if she had not been familiar with the movement patterns required for strengthening her muscles, or if she had gone into surgery with an imbalance in her pelvic alignment.

Unfortunately, most insurances will not cover prehab, so look at the cost involved as an investment in your recovery. Getting back to working comfortably or resuming your recreational activities in record time and with minimal pain should be seen as priceless. 


Physical Therapy is a vast field and can also help with the conservative treatment of neck and back pain, headaches, fibromyalgia, post-mastectomy stiffness and pain, post-radiation tissue restrictions, pregnancy and post-partum issues such as pelvic pain, urinary incontinence and pain with intercourse. Not all physical therapists treat these conditions, so make sure you ask before starting treatment at a specific clinic. These are all conditions that respond well to Myofascial release and have been successfully treated at Vital Life Physical Therapy where we also specialize in pelvic Physical Therapy. You may want to check the reviews on Google to see what some of our patients say about their experience at Vital Life Physical Therapy. 


If you have questions about how we can help you, give us a call at (903)241 1274 or visit to download a free e-book and get started on your journey to healing neck pain, back pain or pelvic health issues.





Sarah Rudolph

Vital Life PT


Helping you live life abundantly!



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