What is Prehab? Preventative Rehabilitation explained:

What is Prehab? Preventative Rehabilitation explained:

By Sydney CBD Physiotherapist Dr Domenic Simeoni

Prehab is a common word thrown around by physiotherapists and surgeons. In this article we discuss what prehab is, who needs prehab, why to choose pre-habilitation, does prehab reduce your chance of injury and to why have prehab before surgery?

Prehab: What is it and who needs it?

Preventative Rehabilitation, more commonly known as “Prehab,” is a concept used by physiotherapists to help aid in the prevention of injury. Prehab can be more specifically defined as a proactive approach to address muscular or tissue imbalances, poor movement patterns and ingrained postural habits before these factors result in injury. Prehab can also be used as preparation before undergoing a musculoskeletal surgery.

Why should you choose Prehab?

There are many reasons that you may choose to obtain a prehab program, and an assessment by a physiotherapist is appropriate for everyone! Whether you are beginning a new exercise routine, are a seasoned distance runner or weight lifter, or would simply like to identify your areas of risk! It is highly recommended to have a physiotherapist perform a prehab assessment to help you avoid injury in the future.

When is Prehab Used?

Prehab can be used in many different scenarios; however, it is typically geared towards either injury prevention in active individuals, or when preparing for an array of orthopaedic surgeries.

Does Prehab prevent injury?

If you are using prehab in order to lower your risk of injury, you will need to begin with a complete and thorough assessment performed by a qualified health professional. This will identify “problem” areas and joints in your body that may be at risk of injury. A comprehensive prehab assessment will cover many areas including:

  • Postural assessment
  • Spinal range of motion and mobility
  • Shoulder and elbow mobility and movement mechanics
  • Hip, knee, ankle mobility and movement mechanics
  • Upper and lower extremity joint mobility assessment
  • Core strength testing
  • Flexibility screening
  • Functional movement analysis (for example squatting or lunging form)

If you are interested in prehab and wondering whether a prehab assessment is something you require ask our friendly staff. Our physiotherapists, osteopaths, chiropractors and podiatrists are qualified and prepared at answer all your prehab and injury related questions.

Why have Prehab Before a Surgery?

Many times before a knee, hip, or shoulder surgery, your surgeon will recommend a course of prehab. In this scenario prehab is used to assess your body or joint before a surgery is performed, creating an individualised exercise program for you to perform prior to surgery. This ensures that you become stronger or more flexible prior surgery, therefore typically making the rehab (post-surgery) process easier and smoother. This will also allow you to connect with a physiotherapist prior to a surgery and give you the opportunity to discuss any concerns you have about the rehab process, as well as set realistic expectations for the coming weeks or months!

What happens after the assessment?

Following a prehab assessment your physiotherapist will identify several areas of muscular or tissue imbalances, poor movement mechanics, and ingrained poor postural habits that need to be addressed. You should expect an individualised program to be created that targets your specific areas of need. This program should supplement your regular daily or weekly exercise routine, and when performed over time will help to lower the risk of developing injuries. Regular “check ins” with your physiotherapist are highly recommended to progress or reassess your individualised routine as your body adapts to the prehab program.

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