The decision to go ahead with surgery is a big commitment. And certainly, it’s not something you’d choose to do if you didn’t feel it was absolutely necessary. But there is reason to be hopeful.
Whether you have are having a full joint replacement or other type of surgery, the good news is that these procedures have come a long way and are generally quite successful.1-3 The doctors will help repair the wear and tear of the joint and reduce the inflammation. The rest of the recovery process, however, will be largely up to you.
You have aspirations and specific things you want to achieve following the surgery. These can be anything from simply regaining function of the joint to performing daily life tasks to returning to activities you enjoy such as golf or gardening. So, what strategies will you employ on your path to recovery?
Education is Therapy
After surgery, you will most likely undergo physical therapy. This will help you improve your range of motion and gradually regain your strength. But in addition to exercise, education can also aid you in your recovery. In fact, scientific research has shown that understanding how pain works in the body can help you hurt less, exercise more and return to regular activities more quickly.4-6
Author, researcher and talented educator Adriaan Louw, PT, PhD has been spreading this positive message for several years now. He speaks on the value of this relatively new approach, known as pain neuroscience education, around the world to both clinicians and patients. As he likes to say, “Education is therapy” and “Know pain, know gain.”
The premise of neuroscience education is based on the principle that all pain is determined by the brain, which processes messages it receives from the nerves. By understanding how our body and brain work together in this way, it allows us to utilize that knowledge to lessen our pain and improve mobility.
Louw’s Neuroscience Books
Adriaan’s gift for making the science of pain accessible to everyone is evident in his presentations and books. He has a way of talking about pain that makes it less intimidating, and this is especially evident in his pain neuroscience education books. As the exclusive publisher of these books, OPTP carries the full series, which is now comprised of 11 titles.
Several of the books specifically address hip, knee and shoulder surgeries, revealing what to expect from the procedures before, during and after surgery. All titles feature memorable concepts that are explained through approachable language with metaphors, examples and illustrations. Most importantly, they are designed to help you harness the power of your brain to take control of your nerves and lessen pain, increase movement and return to regular activities as quickly as possible.
If you’re in the process of scheduling hip, knee or shoulder surgery and looking to get a head start on your recovery, consider learning more about pain neuroscience education. Not only is it a fascinating field, but you’ll discover knowledge that will guide you in your return to activity and success of your goals.
- Jolles BM, Bogoch ER. Posterior versus lateral surgical approach for total hip arthroplasty in adults with osteoarthritis. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. Jul 19 2006(3):CD003828.
- Chaudhury S, Gwilym SE, Moser J, Carr AJ. “Surgical options for patients with shoulder pain.” Nature Reviews Rheumatology. Apr 2010; 6(4):217-226.
- Coghlan JA, Buchbinder R, Green S, Johnston RV, Bell SN. “Surgery for rotator cuff disease.” The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. Jan 23 2008(1):CD005619.
- Louw A, Diener I, Butler DS, Puentedura EJ. The effect of neuroscience education on pain, disability, anxiety, and stress in chronic musculoskeletal pain. Archives of physical medicine and rehabilitation. Dec 2011;92(12):2041-2056.
- Louw A, Puentedura EL, Mintken P. Use of an abbreviated neuroscience education approach in the treatment of chronic low back pain: A case report. Physiotherapy Theory and Practice. Jul 3, 2011.
- Moseley GL, Hodges PW, Nicholas MK. A randomized controlled trial of intensive neurophysiology education in chronic low back pain. Clinical Journal of Pain. 2004; 20: 324-330.