5 Reasons to Add Physical Therapy to Your WLS Success Plan

Article By: Whittany Gibson, RDN

Whittany is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who specializes in bariatric nutrition counseling, providing education and support prior to and following weight loss surgery.

Weight loss surgery can be a life-changing decision for those struggling with obesity. But the road to recovery can be physically tough for many people. After surgery, patients are required to make significant lifestyle changes, one of which includes regular exercise. After years of obesity and accompanying comorbidities, many patients develop postural issues, muscle imbalances, weakness, or mobility issues. In this blog post, I will discuss why consulting with a physical therapist after weight loss surgery (or even before) may be a good idea for you!

1) To prevent complications. Weight loss surgery can cause many changes in your body including reduced muscle mass, decreased bone density, and changes in joint mechanics. A physical therapist will help you identify potential risk factors and teach you how to avoid them. They can also help you manage pain and discomfort during exercise.

2) To improve mobility. Physical therapy can help increase range of motion and agility for anyone, but this is especially important for those who are morbidly obese (BMI greater than 40) and super morbidly obese (BMI greater than 50), as this population has the highest risk of complications and already has decreased mobility. Working with a physical therapist can reduce the risk of injury and promote better balance. Improved mobility will significantly increase the success rate with WLS as you can move more comfortably.

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3) To assist with weight loss maintenance. A physical therapist can help develop a customized exercise plan tailored to your specific needs including those with limited mobility. They can also help you transition safely back to your old fitness routine post-WLS or help you develop a new one that fits better with your changing body and overall health goals.

4) To help prevent muscle & joint weakness. The changes in a patient's body after WLS can lead to muscle and joint weakness. A physical therapist can provide strength training exercises to help prevent muscle and joint weakness and improve overall body strength.

5) To improve posture. After losing a significant amount of weight, your body shape may change, and it can be a further problem if patients have not always had proper alignment. A physical therapist can help you regain proper posture by showing you exercises for your core, upper back, and shoulder blades. This will reduce the chances of additional injuries.

Weight loss surgery can be a life-changing decision, and physical therapy can help you make the most of this experience. A physical therapist can help you develop a personalized exercise plan, prevent complications, provide rehabilitation support, and provide other long-term health benefits. With the help of a physical therapist, patients can safely and effectively achieve their weight loss goals and enjoy a better quality of life.

BariMelts provides general recommendations, not to be construed as medical advice. Please consult your doctor.

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