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Maximizing motivation during recovery from orthopedic surgery

Bouncing back after surgery or a medical event may sound easy, but recovery can be complicated both physically and mentally. A recent study in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery revealed that personal motivation might be the biggest factor in determining the amount of recovery time needed after many common orthopedic surgeries. Researchers have found that the human body can withstand quite a bit but the mind also needs to be convinced that recovery is possible.

Here are six ways to stay motivated during a time of recovery.

1. Total bed rest is not an option
Staying in bed around the clock has been replaced with more effective approach to rehabilitation. Moving as soon as possible has been found to be the way to recover more quickly. This does not mean that the bed is off limits. Rest is needed during recovery but there should be a plan to gradually increase activity on a daily basis. There needs to be a balance between rest and activity.

2. Routines provide comfort
Recovery upsets your normal routine so establish a new one. Figure out a time each day to get washed and dressed, have meals and exercise. By setting a time to get up each day and get dressed, you are motivated to be more active. A study from the Journal of American Physical Therapy found that only 30 percent of patients follow the plan of care from their doctor. If you are given a set of exercises or other therapy each day, do it and keep track of it. The closer you follow the treatment plan, the faster the recovery time.

3. Keep track of progress
It is easy to plan to be better in a week but sometimes it isn’t possible. It is important to have realistic expectations and celebrate each step toward recovery. It can be hard to see this progress so consider making a journal or chart for each day. Chart the number of steps taken or other milestones. Be thankful for each small victory to maintain a positive outlook.

4. Don’t go it alone
Even if you were able to care for yourself, your home, your family and your job before your hospitalization, you may need some help after you are released before you can do everything again. Accept offers of help from family and friends, especially for the little things like bringing in the mail or picking up a few things at the grocery store. A successful recovery can mean caring for yourself enough to do what is needed so you can once again care for others. It is not a sign of weakness to ask for help. Most people are very willing to lend a hand when they know you are recovering. You may need to skip a few meetings and delegate a few tasks while you focus on your own health for awhile.

5. Keep in touch
Recovery can be isolating which can lead to depression. Make an effort to be connected with friends and family. If you are going to physical therapy, try to make a friend with someone who is going through a similar experience. You are less likely to skip a session if you have a friend who notices you are not there.

6. Take a break
Having unfamiliar pain and stiffness can be discouraging. Instead of dwelling on your discomfort, try doing something to take your mind off your troubles. Listen to your favorite music, try reading an exciting novel or watching a movie to have a break from your recovery effort.

It takes a level of focused personal discipline to recover as quickly as possible. However, it is not something you have to do alone. By choosing a stay at a rehabilitation center following your discharge from the hospital, you will become part of a team working toward a faster and safer recovery.

The Rehabilitation Pavilion at Glenview Terrace — complete with its own private entrance, lobby, gym and dining room — is one of the North Shore’s most acclaimed orthopedic and joint replacement recovery programs. The experienced licensed therapists guide you toward full recovery through one-on-one, hands-on therapy up to seven days a week. The Glenview Terrace team of experts will set up a personalized plan for regaining strength and balance that is both safe and effective, as well as help keep you feeling positive and motivated.

Glenview Terrace delivers this top-notch care in an elegant setting that begins with beautifully landscaped grounds and continues into the spacious, well-appointed rooms with a stunning array of amenities and services.

When it is time for compassionate and expert care, consider the Rehabilitation Pavilion at Glenview Terrace where the goal is always to help get you back to the independent lifestyle you desire. For additional information or to arrange a tour, visit or call 847-729-9090.

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