Spine surgery is very taxing on your body, so it’s going to take a little bit to get back to full health after your operation. However, a good spine surgeon will always discuss with their patients some ways to expedite the recovery process. Although you should always consult with your neurosurgeon about your exact recovery protocol, here are some general tips to keep in mind if you want to help speed up your recovery time after back surgery.
Healing Quicker After Back Surgery
If you are about to undergo surgery or you are finally back home after a spinal operation, these tips can help you shorten your recovery time.
1. Rest and Relax – As we mentioned in the intro, spine surgery is quite taxing on your spine and your whole body. Minimally invasive operations help to shorten your recovery time, but structures still need to be cut in order to access your spine. One of the best things you can do for the first 24-48 hours after spine surgery is to just sit back, relax and let your body completely focus on the healing process.
2. Hydrate – It’s easy to hydrate when you’re exercising and you know you’re losing fluids, but some people overlook fluid intake when they aren’t as active. Since you’ll likely have limited physical activity in the first few days after surgery, make sure you are drinking plenty of fluids. Staying hydrated will make it easier for healthy blood to flow to the recovering structures.
3. Diet – We know that it can be tempting to order a pizza and hang out on the couch after spine surgery, but your back will need a range of vitamins and nutrients to help with the healing process. Make sure you are eating plenty of dark leafy green vegetables, fruits and proteins. If cooking will be difficult after surgery, prep some meals beforehand so you can quickly reheat a healthy meal!
4. Physical Therapy – Once your spine has recovered from the initial shock of surgery, you’ll want to begin working on strengthening those spinal structures. This is achieved through targeted physical therapy. Your surgeon will either set you up with some exercises or refer you to a physical therapist. Do the exercises during your PT sessions and on your own for best results!
5. Listen To Your Surgeon – Another tip to remember when recovering from spine surgery is to listen to your spine surgeon. The doctor knows best, so listen to their specific instructions when it comes to doing right by your back. If they want you to take certain medications or to wait two weeks before going back to work, heed their instructions!
6. Avoid Overexertion – Finally, one thing to remember is to avoid overexerting yourself during your rehab. You want to find a balance between helping your body recover with exercise and physical therapy, and avoiding overstressing your body and re-injuring a structure. If you push your body too hard too quickly after surgery, you can cause the hardware to fail. If you’re considering increasing your physical activity level, run it by your surgeon and PT first.
For more tips on how to recover after spine surgery, or to talk with a surgeon about your back pain, contact Dr. Cohn today.