Pre-Operative Physical Therapy (Prehab)

Pre-Operative Physical Therapy (Prehab)

The road to recovery begins before surgery with “prehab.”

When preparing for an orthopedic surgery, it’s normal to be nervous about your upcoming recovery and rehabilitation. Why not get a head start on your recovery with pre-operative physical therapy known as “pre-habilitation” or “prehab”?

By improving your strength and mobility prior to surgery, you can actually expedite your recovery and improve your long-term outcome. Additionally, since you’ll already be working with your physical therapist, you can get your questions answered ahead of time, understand the rehab process ahead of you, and develop a customized recovery plan.



Orthopedic patients who undergo pre-surgery rehabilitation experience a number of benefits, including:

  • Reduced pain and swelling
  • Maintenance of overall strength
  • Improved range of motion
  • Better surgical outcomes
  • An existing relationship with their post-op physical therapist
  • Earlier understanding of their rehabilitation and recovery plan

One study looked at 60 patients who were scheduled for spine surgery, with one group undergoing prehabilitation and the other waiting until after surgery to begin rehab. Not only did the prehab group demonstrate better outcomes, they even had shorter hospital stays.



At Excel Physical Therapy, each patient’s prehab program is tailored to their own unique needs, but generally speaking, may include the following:

  • Warmup (e.g., stretching, light jogging, stationary biking)
  • Cardiovascular (e.g., jogging, stationary biking, walking)
  • Resistance training (e.g., weightlifting, calisthenics, using resistance bands)
  • Flexibility training (e.g., stretching, yoga, weightlifting, calisthenics)
  • Functional tasks (e.g., ascending/descending stairs, sitting-to-standing)


Surgery coming up soon? Get a head start, beginning today. 

Being proactive with your health often pays off in the long term. If you’re preparing for an orthopedic surgery, contact your local EXCEL office or request an appointment online to find out how you can maximize your chances for a successful recovery by beginning a Prehab program today.

Webinar: How Bad is Bad Enough?

On Friday, May 1, 2020, Excel Physical Therapy President and Co-Founder Matt Gibble was joined by Rothman Orthopaedics Board Certified Physician Frank Alberta, MD, FAAOS to discuss what injuries and conditions warrant a trip to the doctor.