Preparing to Return to Work After Surgery

Surgery is a fairly major event in a person’s life, requiring preparation beforehand and healing time afterward. Getting back into the swing of normal life is sometimes a difficult part of the process, especially regarding your return to work. Here are a few tips from orthopaedic surgeons to prepare you for going back to work after your procedure.

Follow Doctor’s Orders

It is absolutely critical to follow the instructions of your orthopaedic surgeons exactly. If their recommendation is to return on light duty or for partial days, heed those instructions to avoid injury to your vulnerable joint. Spending too much time on a recovering knee, for example, can cause inflammation and swelling to occur. In addition, if your doctor recommends a specific course of physical therapy, attend each as scheduled and put in 100% of your effort. Your doctor is well versed in treatment methods and will not steer you wrong.

Understand Your Limitations

After surgery, your body needs time to get back to normal, not only for your affected joint, but your body’s general state as well. You will tire easily for a while and the fact that you’ve not been able to exercise muscles and joints adequately means you may be weaker. This is all the more reason to follow your doctor’s orders for rehabilitation, in order to regain your strength. Expect to be exhausted for a while after your return to work, and avoid planning any major events or extended days until a few weeks after your return.

Living Healthier

Lifestyle choices during your recovery make a big difference in how quickly you can return to work. Avoid tobacco and alcohol while you are recovering, as both can compromise how your body’s cells work to rebuild and heal the affected area. Eating lean proteins and anti-oxidant vegetables will help to nourish your body with the vitamins it needs for cell repair. As you feel able (and as your doctor recommends) try to exercise gently if possible, to help restore your strength. Stay as active and as social as you can during your downtime to make your return easier.

Your orthopaedic surgeons know best, and will help you understand the best methods to get ready for your return to work. Typically a healthy dose of realism and patience will make your transition back to the workplace less painful and help you take the first steps toward your normal lifestyle.

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