Dealing with severe pain and reduced mobility after a hip replacement can be downright frustrating. It is one of the most successful joint replacement surgeries in medicine, with high patient satisfaction and low complication rates. Regardless, it is still surgery, and your body needs time to heal. Read on for some practical advice on how to recover from a hip replacement surgery more quickly and efficiently.
Consult your doctor first
Your doctor will probably recommend a limited rehabilitation period, depending on your condition and the type of surgery you had done. This may be anywhere from six to eight weeks. Most orthopedic physicians will give you an exercise routine designed to restore range of motion and strength. During this time, there are some things you can do to speed up your recovery and get back to doing normal activities.
Do some pre-Op exercises
Pre-surgical exercises can help you recover faster and feel better after a hip replacement surgery. Most notably, preoperative hip strengthening and range of motion exercises will improve your hip’s stability and reduce the chance of dislocation after surgery. In addition, gentle exercises can help keep your muscles from atrophying during your post-op recovery.
People who are bedridden for a long period after surgery may lose up to 25 percent of their muscle strength in the legs and hips. It is important to make sure you get up and move around as much as possible to prevent this loss. Walking is great because it helps strengthen your leg muscles and encourages hip movement without straining the new hip joint too much.
Reduce stress and anxiety
Did you know that stress and anxiety can actually slow down your recovery from a hip replacement? When you are experiencing stress, the body releases cortisol. This hormone impairs tissue growth. In addition, it can produce more pain in response to movement and make it harder for you to sleep at night.
You should try to reduce your stress levels as much as possible during recovery by practicing deep breathing exercises and visualization techniques. Meditation will help keep your mind relaxed, while yoga will work on relaxing your stressed muscles.
Go for regular checkups
Never miss a checkup appointment for your hip replacement. Expert orthopedic surgeons recommend that you visit the doctor for a checkup at least once every two weeks during recovery. It will be hard to do this on your own, so have someone else drive you to the appointment or schedule an appointment with a taxi service if necessary.
Regular checkups are vital because they allow doctors to monitor pain levels and make sure any side effects are not serious. Make sure you honestly answer all questions about how much pain you are experiencing.
Since it can take several months after surgery for all of the scar tissue surrounding your new hip to mature, it may be months before you feel 100% again. But the good thing is that you will heal in due time.