Modern Medicine and Your Physical Condition

Today, the methods and machinery that our medical profession has at its disposal to diagnose our health issues are nothing short of incredible. Have a problem? Test, test, test, and voila, here’s your problem. They diagnose, and then shortly thereafter, in you go for surgery to repair, replace, reconstruct, whatever is required. But guess what? Do you know what the single most important thing you can do for yourself to pretty much ensure a successful, effective surgery? Get yourself into shape before the surgery!

I’ve had two hernia repairs done in my lifetime and both were done at one of the best Hernia Hospitals in the world right here in Toronto. Absolutely cutting edge (no pun intended). They knew the importance of being physically fit prior to surgery. If you were not at your optimum body weight according to them, they sent you home and told you to come back when you were. When it came time for your surgery, you were walked into the operating room and you climbed up on the operating table. Although they give you sedatives prior to surgery, you are still awake during the surgery and you are walked back to the gurney after it is over. They wheel you to your bed, let you sleep for four hours and then wake you up. You were expected to walk around as soon as you could. If you wanted to eat, the dining room was in the basement, and there was no elevator, just stairs. Rest was never mentioned. Walk, walk, walk. The more waking you did, the better you felt and the quicker you recovered. I was squatting over 300lbs. only six weeks later….no issues. 

In my 30 plus years in the fitness industry, I’ve seen my share of post surgery clients. Some do very well after surgery and some don’t. Let’s take knee replacement surgery for instance. Many of our members have had their knees replaced. For the most part, they’ve all done very well and recovered also very well. No issues. Why? It’s because they went into surgery with their leg muscles, tendons and ligaments in very good shape. (You’re welcome!) I’ve also encountered several people that I know who have had their knees replaced and have not recovered very well at all. Still in pain, still swelling, still stiff, etc. after six months, one year, and even longer. Why? These people were in terrible physical condition going into surgery. Not members by the way.

People need to understand that a brand new joint is just that, a brand new joint. But the muscles, tendons and ligaments that support that joint are still the originals, they’re still yours, and they need to be able to accept, heal and support that new piece of hardware that’s now in your body. If your musculature is weak and stiff, and your tendons and ligaments are weak, how do you expect your recovery to go? Think about it. The surgeon is there to place the new joint inside of you and re-attach all of the necessary supporting structure. The rest, (the recovery) is up to you, and that should all have started long before your surgery. Do you think all of that physiotherapy is required to get the new joint into shape? No, it’s required to get your leg muscles, tendons and ligaments into shape. The new joint doesn’t need physio, it’s new! Those who go into knee replacement surgery with their legs in very good physical condition are usually walking around a week later with no signs of any issues at all. Success. I personally know of several others that are still limping around six months and even over two years later after surgery. It really is avoidable.

So I just thought I’d write about this because I’ve recently come across another acquaintance that is still walking with a cane nine months after surgery, reluctant to get the other done and now you know why. So if you are in a situation where you find yourself needing a knee replacement or a hip joint replacement, or both, now you know what to do if you know what’s good for you.