Here’s how to speed up recovery after a hip replacement

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Surgery

Making the decision to have a hip replacement can often be difficult, to say the least. While the thought of having the operation may be scary, research shows that it will be worth it. Just this year, in fact, a study by Wolters Kluwer Health found that undergoing hip replacement surgery improved patients’ five-year quality of life.

The benefits of taking the leap and having this surgery peak when you first have it but then remain significant for the next five years. What’s more, once you’ve had the surgery, there are some small and simple things you can do that will speed up your recovery time. Here are some science-backed tips that should make the whole thing as quick as possible.

Manage the pain after surgery

Post-surgery, you will likely experience some mild, continuous pain. Remember, this type of surgery is a major operation so it’s only natural that you will have a little discomfort after it. Luckily, in most cases, the doctor will prescribe you some anti-inflammatory and painkillers in the first instance.

You should stick to their advice when it comes to taking the medication. However, if you find that it does not offer you a level of relief, you may need to consult with them again regarding the matter. At times, they may be able to up patients’ dosages to help them combat the pain in a manageable way.

Avoid smoking and drinking

Should you smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol on a regular basis, now is the time to cut back or even quit altogether. Not only will this lifestyle change improve your general health, but the National Health Service guidelines suggest that patients should kick these habits after they have undergone surgery.

According to their advice, doing so will help you speed up your recovery time and will ensure that you don’t suffer any other complications along the way. While it may well be tricky to give these things up, you can find help and guidance online.

Take things one step at a time

When you come back from the hospital, you may be in for something of a shock. Things that you took for granted before now, like cooking and dressing independently, could be harder than expected. It’s crucial to understand that slowing down a little after surgery is completely normal.

Sure, it may be frustrating at first, but you need to take things one step at a time. Don’t try to rush and do things of which you’re not physically capable yet. Instead, take things slow, heed the doctor’s advice, and only do as much as you can manage on a day to day basis. The last thing you want is to over-exert yourself at this point.

Exercise a little each day

That doesn’t mean you should stop doing any exercise, though. While you do want to take things slow here, the NHS guidelines suggest that you ought to be active each day. Remaining somewhat active could mean the difference between a fast recovery and a long, drawn-out one.

Worryingly, one study from the University of East Anglia, found that physical exercise does not increase in people after they have a hip replacement. It’s time to buck that trend. This surgery should give you a new lease of life and allow you to do many more things in the long-run than you otherwise would have had the strength to do.

Eat a healthy, balanced diet

Finally, it’s essential that you eat a healthy, balanced diet while undergoing the recovery process. You may not think that what you eat has anything to do with how fast you heal, but that’s just not the case. After surgery, your body is weaker and more fragile than usual. It needs power and strength – two things which it can gain from the right nutrients.

You may find that your doctor provides you with a healthy eating plan, but if not, you can always create your own. You need to make sure that you eat at least five pieces of fruit or veg a day and a lot of lean protein (such as chicken). Avoid overly fatty or processed food as it doesn’t give you the nutrients you need and could actually hinder your recovery.