Physiotherapy Care at the Hospital following Abdominal Surgery

After abdominal surgery, your may feel bloated and have some discomfort around the wound site which makes you want to rest in bed.  However, being immobile during prolonged bed rest is not good for recovery because it may result in;

  • retention of phlegm in your lungs 
  • muscle weakness
  • delayed healing
  • increased risk of developing bed sores
  • increased risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT)

After your abdominal surgery, it is a good idea to have a physiotherapist help you in your recovery on the following aspects of care.  Your physiotherapists will advise which exercises are suitable for you and how often you should perform them.

Click to view CRUK video on Breathing exercises after surgery

Chest Care.  Practice deep breathing daily after your surgery to prevent phlegm build up.  Try to clear your chest to expel any phlegm. When you cough, you can support the wound by placing a cushion or pillow over the wound site.  Take some deep breaths before you cough as this makes it more effective to expel the phlegm.  Sometimes, you may be provided with a spirometer to help you do deep breathing exercises.   Try this set of breathing exercises which involves a cycle of 3 different breathing techniques

  • Relaxed Breathing Control involves gentle breathing in 6-8 breaths
  • Deep Breathing involves taking a deep breath and holding for 3 seconds before exhaling.  Repeat this 3 times
  • Huffing involves breathing in and out through your open mouth for 3 breaths

Click to view NUH video on Physiotherapy after abdominal surgery

Upper Limb Mobility while lying in bed

  • Do your straight arm raise towards the ceiling and hold for 5 seconds.  Repeat 10 times 
  • Flex your elbows and hold for 5 seconds.  Repeat 10 times

Lower Limb Mobility while lying in bed

  • Slide your right foot towards your buttock by bending your knee and then straighten back to its original position.  Repeat 10 times.  Repeat this Heel-Slide exercise with your left foot
  • Lateral straight leg rotation while lying flat.  Repeat 10 times.  Repeat this exercise with your left leg
  • Flex and extend your both feet while lying flat.  Repeat 10 times
  • Rotate each ankle clockwise and then anti-clockwise.  Repeat 10 times
Image National Osteoporosis Foundation

How to get up from your bed

Immediately after your surgery, you may feel sore and find it difficult to get up from your bed.  Try to use the Log-Roll method to get up from bed.  You need to roll over to your non-surgical side and slowly sit up by the side of the bed by pushing yourself up with your hand. 

Discuss the rehabilitation options available for you with your physiotherapist or doctor

Disclaimer. TELEME blog posts contains general information about health conditions and treatments. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The information is not advice and should not be treated as such. 

If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition, you should seek immediate medical attention from your doctor or other professional healthcare providers. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.

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