Pre-hab, an abbreviation for preventative or preoperative rehabilitation, is the new fitness staple that helps facilitate recovery after surgery. Prehabilitation can refer to rehabilitation done in advance of an operation or as a general injury prevention measure. 

For far too long, the majority of injury prevention has been reactionary. We get injured, we get treatment. It seems like a fact of life that injuries happen and that when they do, some sort of rehabilitation or exercise will get you back on track.  

However, it’s now commonly accepted that the best way to reduce the risk of sports injury and recover from surgery more quickly, is to get our bodies ready in advance.

This approach involves a variety of techniques but is something that everyone can do and incorporate into their routines. In this article, we’ll delve a bit deeper into the world of pre-hab, what it is, how it works, and why you should do it.   


What Is Prehab

It’s important to point out right away that pre-hab is not a warm-up. Warm-ups are a series of exercises done before an activity in order to prime your muscles. 

On the other hand, pre-hab is a regular routine you do multiple times a week for extended periods of time. Instead of targeting specific areas with the aim of preventing strains and sprains, pre-hab aims to identify, study, and improve:

  • Range of motion
  • Biomechanics 
  • Muscle stability 
  • Alertness & nervous system response time
  • Identify areas of weakness and vulnerability

Prehab was most often used before surgeries to maximize function and minimize the damage associated with the surgery. But more and more people – athletes as well as regular folks – are using prehab and incorporating it into their routines to prevent injury and optimize their function. 

Why Is Prehab Important 

By participating in a prehab program, you’ll reduce the risk of injury and improve your overall physical fitness. Just remember, preventing small issues now prevents bigger issues later.  

Reducing your risk of injury is a pretty obvious goal for a few reasons. Prevention is a lot cheaper than treatment and takes a lot less time. No one wants to be sidelined by injury, and even worse, have to go through surgery.  

The less time you spend being injured, the more time you have to enjoy the activities you love without pain or discomfort. By preparing your body in advance through regular and consistent exercise routines, you’re less likely to experience small injuries that often lead to larger issues and reduce the time needed to recover from injuries or surgery. 


You Should Use Prehab?

Prehab can be undertaken to the advantage of many different people, age groups, activities, and injury prevention goals. Prehab can be used for:

  • Those who have sustained an injury or have recently returned to activity following an injury. 
  • People who do regular or occasional sport or recreational activities that leave the body vulnerable to injury. These people usually play sport 1-3 times a week or training for endurance activities. This can include running, tennis, basketball, hockey, and other similar sports.  
  • People who are about to go for surgery and want the best chance of having a successful post-surgical recovery.  Surgery prehabilitation should strongly be considered for major surgeries such as hip replacements, any knee surgery or any other surgery involving high-use areas of the body.  

The stronger your body and muscles are prior to surgery, the better your body will equipped to handle the surgery and the quicker your body will recover afterward.

How can you get started on your prehab routine? Contact Prairie Trail Physio and schedule an appointment. Experienced physiotherapists will do a full assessment and discuss appropriate prehab and rehab solutions for your needs.