Recovering from surgery has challenges and can feel like a rollercoaster of emotions. It can be frustrating thinking about missing out on summer activities with family and friends after surgery.
OrthoIndy sports medicine physician, Dr. Jonathan Shook, knows slowing down your daily lifestyle can be challenging.
“Just the mere fact that they have to slow down and avoid certain activities is probably the hardest thing to do,” said Dr. Shook. “Many of them are used to pushing themselves to the limits to get the best results, but there is a time period after surgery when you have to let your body rest and recover. If you start pushing it too hard too fast, you could re-injure yourself.”
However, recovering in the warmer months can be easier on your mental health than in the winter. Dr. Shook discusses how to safely take care of yourself, benefits of being outside and tips to stay positive after surgery in the warmer months.
How to stay safe in the hot weather after surgery
- Cover your scars with band aids, if they are exposed, to prevent them from getting sunburnt.
- If your scars are completely healed and closed, put sunscreen on your scars to protect them from the sun.
- Do not get your scars wet if they aren’t healed. Sit by the pool and enjoy the water, but do not get in until your physician clears it.
- Stay outside the allotted amount of time your physician suggests. They are looking out for your best interest to keep you healthy and safe.
- Replenish your body with fluids. The hot weather can make you sweat more than normal so it’s important to be conscious of your hydration after surgery to help your wounds heal.
- Maintain eating a healthy diet to provide your body with the proper nutrients so you can improve your recovery after surgery.
“Realize that recovery is a process, not a destination,” said Dr. Shook. “There are stages of recovery, and we will be along for the journey with you to answer your questions and advise you on the best way to reach your goals. Take it day by day and week by week; if you just look at the endpoint, you’ll get frustrated. Also, don’t compare yourself to others. Everyone has different injuries and speed of recovery; nobody recovers the same.”
How do you stay positive after an operation?
It can be easy to get discouraged after an operation when all your friends are enjoying the warm weather, but there are things you can do to enjoy the weather too.
- Do your physical therapy outside if you are able.
- Don’t isolate yourself. Hang out with friends and family or in a community setting. It will uplift your spirits while you are going through a tough time.
- Read and exercise your mind when you can’t physically exercise your body.
- Vitamin D from the sun can increase endorphins and can put you in a better mood.
- Fresh warm air has many benefits:
- It can give you more energy and calm you down.
- The smells and intake of oxygen allows you to feel better overall and happier.
- It can clean your lungs, aid in digestion, promotes healthy bones and can even help lower your blood pressure.
- Studies show the effects of positive thinking on your health. Being outside, in general, is good for your overall well-being and mental health.
When you are recovering from surgery, there is almost always an alternative type of exercise you can do.
“If you had shoulder surgery, you can almost immediately be riding a stationary or recumbent bicycle,” said Dr. Shook. “If you had a knee injury, you can work on your upper body or your core muscles. The mental part of recovery is sometimes even more difficult than the physical part. Remember, many people before you have had injuries and they have recovered from them to go on to do great things. Picture yourself as being that person who is going to be better than ever!”
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Your well-being is important to us. Click the button below or call us to schedule an appointment with one of our orthopedic specialists. If your injury or condition is recent, you can walk right into one of our OrthoIndy Urgent Care locations for immediate care. For rehabilitation and physical therapy, no referral is needed to see one of our physical therapists.