PT on the Net Research

Abdominal Surgery


Question:

I have a client who is recovering from extensive abdominal surgery. Where might I find information regarding rehab of her abdominals? I was thinking of following the exercises I have found for post-cesarean.

Answer:

There are some excellent articles on the PTontheNET.com web site that specifically cover exercises addressing abdominal weakness (two good ones to start with are The Inner Unit and The Outer Unit by Paul Chek). Another great resource is the book The Pelvic Girdle by Diane Lee. This book includes great rehabilitation exercises for the deep abdomen region.

Note: When the surgeon cuts the abdominal area, there may be de-innervation. Research has shown that it may take quite a long time to re-innervate or gain back cognitive awareness. If your client lives a sedentary lifestyle (sitting most of the day), many muscles may lay dormant. Therefore, a more active environment needs to be integrated into their lifestyle (i.e., stability ball exercises, functional movement patterns, balance drills, etc.).

It is important to understand that many of these isolated exercises regain control, without regard to overall function. Many of the researchers explain isolation techniques without regard to function/performance. Point: Use textbooks as part of a thought process and be creative! Your client’s progression will be the determining factor of success!