Physical Therapy as an Alternative to Surgery

Could physical therapy be an alternative to surgery?

Most people think of physical therapy as necessary for recovering from surgery, an illness or an accident, but it's much more effective than many believe. In fact, not only can physical therapy help you recover from a surgery, in some cases, it could even make it possible to skip the surgery altogether! One study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that, for patients with arthritis of the knee and meniscal tears, after six months, patients who underwent surgery and postoperative physical therapy had little to no functional difference than those who just underwent physical therapy alone. Another study that was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that physical therapy is just as effective as surgery for treating lumbar spinal stenosis.

Why choose physical therapy instead of surgery?

In the long run, physical therapy can be just as effective as surgery for some conditions, but it can take longer than traditional surgery to get results, so what makes physical therapy a better option?

  • Complications - Any surgery, no matter how routine, can come with complications. Common postoperative complications can include shock, hemorrhaging, infection, deep vein thermoses, urinary retention, pulmonary complications and unforeseen reactions to anesthesia. Choosing physical therapy instead of surgery can help you avoid the risks and complications of surgery.
  • Recovery Time - On average, it can take up to six months to fully recover from meniscus repair surgery, and that's only if the surgery has no complications. While you'll be able to regain your range of motion in as little as a month, it can take a lot longer than that to fully recover and get back to your pre-surgery activities. For spinal stenosis surgery, recovery time is typically 12 weeks, but again, that's assuming there aren't any complications and that the surgery was minimally invasive. If a more invasive surgery is necessary, it will increase the recovery time. With physical therapy, you won't be forced to take time off of your life to recover.
  • Cost - While physical therapy isn't always cheap, it's typically a whole lot more affordable than surgery. According to New Choice Health, the average cost of knee repair surgery in the United States is roughly $13,000. Of course, you'll need to consider your insurance plan, but regardless of your plan, you'll pay a lot more for surgery than you would for physical therapy. Plus, when you consider the fact that you'll probably need physical therapy after your surgery, the costs become even more prohibitive.
  • Pain - Surgery takes a toll on your body, and even though it can be incredibly effective in many different cases, why would you want to experience more pain than you have to? Choosing physical therapy in lieu of surgery will allow you to move right into recovery without having to cope with the pain, soreness and discomfort that is inevitable with any surgery.

Turn to Salem Lutheran Homes & Rehabilitation Center for outpatient therapy in Elk Horn.

If physical therapy is just as effective as surgery in some cases, why would you put your body or your wallet through surgery? Find a better solution with Salem Lutheran Homes & Rehabilitation Center. Visit us online today to learn about our outpatient therapy program.

Add comment