Waiting for surgery? How to get ourselves and our clients ready

In October, 2014, I was fortunate enough to receive a brand-spanking new right hip.  And next month, on March 15th, I get to do it all again on the left hip.

Knowing the date of an upcoming surgery, whether it’s for an orthopedic, general medical or other procedure, presents a huge opportunity. And it’s an opportunity that is often missed.

Using mindful movement for pre-habInstead of spending the pre-op time preparing for surgery, we often spend this precious time waiting. Ruminating. Worrying. Perhaps even second-guessing if this was the right decision. As a consequence, many patients enter the operating room unprepared and afraid.

Some doctors and surgical centers have added a more comprehensive pre-op orientation process beyond performing just a basic physical, helping patients become better informed about what to expect post-operatively.

This orientation process is a big improvement over old practices when knowing little about what to expect during and after surgery was the norm—unfortunately, this process is neither consistent nor universally standardized.

More importantly, it misses the huge opportunity we have during this pre-op timeframe to establish a detailed, well-structured Prehab regimen that will carry over into a successful post-op program, and result in a successful outcome.

As Pilates and movement instructors, we’re in a unique position to help our clients and patients successfully navigate this pre-op period, and give them successful movement experiences right up until surgery.

With all tools at our disposal, there are multiple ways we can keep our clients moving with minimal discomfort, building feelings of trust in their own capabilities and developing an environment of movement success. This will set them up for better outcomes post operatively.

Balanced Body has built a wonderful movement environment—a place of unlimited resources to support and challenge mindful movement in our clients and patients, no matter what their current state.

Not only do we have Pilates apparatus at our disposal, we also have CoreAlign, MOTR, Barre, Bodhi and a plethora of props for studio and home use. There are endless options for facilitating a successful movement experience in all populations.

As the idea of surgery has progressed from question to reality, I’ve found many ways to continue to enjoy movement using the huge variety of tools in the Balanced Body arsenal. In particular, the MOTR has been wonderful for home program activities and for focused work on balance, oblique, lateral, and back lines—components I would surely have lost in the typical weight room environment.

I’m also doing Pilates apparatus and CoreAlign with modifications for limited range of motion and compensatory patterns—and believe me, there are plenty of compensations. At my studio, I’m currently known as the “Queen of Compensation”…and this is not a reference to payroll!

Additionally, I’ve been riding a stationary bike for interval work because walking longer than about 15 minutes at a time doesn’t feel awesome, and usually has pretty uncomfortable consequences.

It’s important to note that the Prehab regimen I’ve created over the last few months has involved input from others, and is different than for my first hip replacement. Why? Because the symptoms are different. The feelings are different. The situation is different. Therefore, a different, unique approach is required.

I make this point because in some clinical situations, patients are given a hand-out of exercises to do as if there were a one-size-fits-all recipe for all to follow.

While it’s always prudent to follow solid, research-based movement principle guidelines as we work with our clients and patients, it’s also critical that we continually listen, observe, and reassess them to assure we’re creating a personal program that addresses their unique circumstances.  This will give them confidence as they go in to their surgery and set them up for success during their post-op recovery.

Given all that the Balanced Body movement systems have to offer, it no longer makes sense to “wait” for surgery when we can spend this pre-op time wisely by Prehabbing for an exceptional outcome.

Lindy Royer

About Lindy Royer

Owner, Park Meadow Pilates and Physical Therapy, Balanced Body Faculty

Lindy Royer is the owner of Park Meadows Pilates and Physical Therapy in Lone Tree, CO. She is a PMA-certified PT and a member of the Balanced Body faculty. In her role at Balanced Body, Lindy brings her expertise in physical therapy, movement understanding, and the latest research in neuro-science, to restore balance to the whole body for efficiency and healing.