What is Rehab and Prehab?

What is Rehab and Prehab

I’m sure you’ve heard of rehab, which is short for rehabilitation, but you may not have heard of prehab.

During rehab, which occurs after surgery or an injury, there may be pain.  You may be in a sling or splint or may have just came out of a cast and wondering why you’re going to physical therapy in the first place when you can’t even move.

For example, if you had a shoulder surgery and are in a sling, your physical therapist is going to gently get you out of the sling and begin to move the joint a little bit at a time.  It’s important that you don’t allow adhesions to occur as your shoulder begins to heal.  Even though you had a painful and intrusive surgery, it is very safe to move you through limited ranges of motion to make sure you don’t develop frozen shoulder or other complications.  Early movement is a key to a quick recovery.

But, is there anything you can do BEFORE surgery to speed up the recovery process after surgery? The answer is yes!

What is Prehab


If you need surgery, you doctor may advise you to see a physical therapist beforehand to do strengthening exercises to help you recover quicker after surgery has been performed.  We call that prehab.

There is very good evidence that even one or two sessions of prehab can dramatically improve your recovery from shoulder, knee, and hip surgery.

Still using a shoulder example, many patients have already been diagnosed with a rotator cuff tear by their primary care physician or their orthopedist.  However, the physician wants a physical therapist to prepare the patient for surgery.  This is becoming more common every day.  The stronger a patient is, the more range of motion and flexibility they have, the easier their rehab following surgery is going to be.

Physical therapists will treat patients with prehab by seeing them in the office and by providing them with at-home exercises as well.

If you have a knee injury, prehab may consist of a single visit or multiple visits to help reduce the swelling around the knee. Reducing inflammation will allow the physician to have better access to the damaged tissue during surgery.  Improving muscular strength and range of motion beforehand will allow for an overall quicker recovery period.

Recovering After Surgery

Once surgery has been completed, rehab varies in length and time.  Patients who have less severe injuries, may only need two to six weeks of rehab.  Patients with a full blown rotator cuff repair (for example) will take longer to recover.

Dynamic Physical Therapy

At Dynamic Physical Therapy, we stay in close contact with the physician who performed the surgery. If a patient is doing well and accelerating quicker than expected, we will call the physician and ask them if we can speed up their rehab exercises.

We are committed to getting patients better as quickly as we can.  When you come in here, you are always in sight of your therapist and you get to know not only them, but the other patients.  We believe our patients look forward to coming here because they enjoy the sessions, meeting the other patients and sharing in a common story with them that allows for quicker recovery.

Dynamic Physical Therapy would love to help you if you are living with daily pain, preparing for surgery or recovering. We have multiple locations for our client’s convenience that are open late hours as well. We are open to at least 8 p.m. at all locations.

Our offices are located in:

  • Bridgeport
  • Fairmont
  • Jane Lew
  • Morgantown
  • Sabraton
  • Westover

If you are living with pain and no longer want to be a victim, please visit our website to learn more about us, or give us a call to set up a consultation. No referral necessary.

  • Westover Office: (304) 225-5222
  • Morgantown Office: (304) 598-2212
  • Sabraton Office: (304) 225-0910


By | 2017-05-09T12:31:21-04:00 July 24th, 2015|General Physical Therapy|0 Comments