There’s a reason the binding of a book is called the “spine”: it’s just as central to the structure of a book as your spine is to your body. That’s why proper care after back surgery is crucial to your recovery. Along with maintaining a positive attitude—which is helpful after any sort of medical procedure—here are five useful tips for getting you back into tip-top shape.
Don’t rush it
After the initial healing process is complete, you will be able to increase your range of movement and strength. It’s important to remember that every patient’s recovery is different; age and overall physical condition will determine how much time it takes to heal. Pushing yourself too fast after surgery will cause setbacks, and you could even injure yourself further. So follow the instructions your surgeon gives you, which will include a healthy diet and plenty of rest. The last thing you’ll want after back surgery is more back surgery, so don’t rush your recovery.
Safely manage pain
It’s normal to experience pain after back surgery from the surgical wounds, inflammation, or muscle spasms, and while discomfort will decrease on its own over time, your surgeon will also prescribe pain medication for a determined amount of time. Considering the epidemic of opioid addiction in the US, it’s crucial to safely and effectively manage your medication use, which means gradually reducing the dosage and increasing the time between dosages as you recover. You can also try nonpharmacologic pain management, such as ice packs, heating pads, massage, and frequent re-positioning.
Your body uses those eight hours a night to replenish and recover from everyday activities, and deep, uninterrupted sleep is even more important after surgery. Similarly to staying non-weight bearing after ankle or foot surgery, good rest will help you heal faster, so it’s important to find a comfortable position that doesn’t put too much strain on your back. Sleeping on your side with a pillow between your knees is a popular position, or you can try lying flat on your back with a pillow underneath your knees so your hips are slightly bent, relieving the pressure on your spine.
Participate in rehabilitation
Many patients will need some measure of physical therapy after the initial healing process. It’s important to follow the program closely and make sure you understand your individual activity restrictions. Appropriate exercise not only enhances the recovery process and decreases the chances of future pain, but it can also foster overall feelings of wellbeing by increasing circulation and releasing endorphins.
Understand that recovery is more than physical
While most patients are worried about pain and physical limitations after back surgery, many don’t realize the mental toll surgery can take. Some people experience temporary mood swings or depressive thoughts during their recovery period, which is normal but it can become detrimental if it leads to unrealistic expectations. In addition to keeping a positive attitude, it’s important to focus on the “baby steps” forward you make each day and recognize that they will eventually add up to full recovery.
Need equipment to aid your recovery? PA Healthcare can help!
If your post-surgery recovery would benefit from mobility aids such as wheelchairs, walkers, or rollators, PA Healthcare offers a wide range for products for sale or rent. We also offer delivery throughout San Diego and Imperial Counties, so give us a call today!