Complete Post-Operative Physical Therapy at Monmouth Pain and Rehabilitation

Red Bank, NJ Doctor designs and implements post-surgical treatment programs to increase functioning and reduce future injury.

Muscle function and strength is an important component in the post-surgical recovery process. In particular, physical therapy after spinal surgery can help patients maximize recovery and minimize future pain-related issues.

For example, back pain is often the result of physical deconditioning. Weak muscles have a negative impact on the functioning of the spine and joints, which can lead to disorders that cause pain. In some patients, localized muscle weakness can cause disc problems; surgery does not correct this weakness. It is in such cases that complete post-surgical physical therapy is necessary.

Physical therapy can help patients not only re-build muscle strength, but also has a positive effect on posture—an important component to good health, avoiding future surgeries, and protecting the back from additional injury.

The Role of Physiatry in Post-Surgical Rehabilitation

Physiatrists are doctors that specialize in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R). They treat a wide range of conditions, from sore muscles and joints to more serious issues such as spinal cord injuries. As a provider of both pre- and post-operative care, a Physiatrist acts as the coordinator of a conservative program of pain management and rehabilitation.

Most conditions, including low back pain, do not require surgery. In some cases, however, a physiatrist may determine that surgery is needed. He or she can help patients with the entire process of preparing for surgery, including the necesssary rehabilitation afterward.

Conservative Care for Post-Surgical Rehabilitation

Physiatrists typically work with a team of physical therapists and other practitioners to create and implement a rehabilitative physical therapy and exercise program. The Physiatrist at Monmouth Pain and Rehabilitation has a team of pain management and functional rehabilitation specialists at his disposal—including both physical therapists as well as chiropractors, acupuncturists, and a massage therapist.

Physical therapy exercise programs are carefully coordinated between a team of experts, who then guide post-operative patients through the process. Throughout any program of care, multiple follow-ups take place in order to continuously evaluate the patient’s progress and make necessary changes.

Post-Surgical Pain Management through Physiatry

Unfortunately, back surgeries can often result in extended pain. There are several reasons for post-operative pain:

• Scar tissue may form after back surgery, causing compression on the nerves (and therefore inflammation and pain);
• Some back surgeries (spinal fusion surgery in particular) are extremely invasive and change the normal shape and functioning of the spine; and
• When back surgery fails, back pain is likely to continue. (There is a 53% failure rate for low back pain surgeries*; this is a major reason that Physiatrists recommend surgery only when absolutely required.)

For some patients, post-operative pain leads to a loss of normal functioning and—to make matters worse—often means they are unable to take advantage of physical therapy and rehabilitation.

Fortunately, Physiatrists are pain management specialists; the Physiatrist at Monmouth Pain and Rehabilitation has a number of minimally invasive, non-surgical methods of relieving pain. These might include:

Epidural Steroid Injections: The injection of a corticosteroid in the epidural space (the area that surrounds the spinal sac and provides cushioning for the nerves and spinal cord).

Facet Joint Injections: Injections that are administered in the facet joints, located between the vertebrae of each spinal segment. The purpose of this type of injection is to treat pain and inflammation in the joints of the spine.

Sacroiliac Joint Injections: Injections are concentrated on the Sacroiliac Joint, which is found between the sacrum (the bone in the lower portion of the spine, below the lumbar spine) and the right and left iliac (pelvic) bones.

Other non-surgical pain management techniques that may be used after surgery include joint injections, sympathetic nerve blocks, and trigger point injections.

At Monmouth Pain and Rehabilitation, we use a number of imaging techniques, including Fluoroscopy and Ultrasound. Both types of technology provide real-time, moving images, which can assist with both diagnosis (mainly done with Ultrasound), or for Fluoroscopic- or Ultrasound-guided injections. This improves the accuracy and effectiveness of injections.

Post-Surgical Medical Care/Physical Therapy at Monmouth Pain and Rehabilitation

At our Red Bank, NJ office, the post-operative physical therapy and rehabilitation rendered by our Medical Director—a Physiatrist—results in a cohesive, conservative, and healthy strategy to help patients restore strength, mobility, and reduce pain.

Please contact our office to learn more about post-operative physical therapy in Monmouth County, NJ.

* SICOT, The World Orthopaedic Organisation