Spine surgery is just the beginning of your process to get back to full health. After you’ve been discharged, the real work begins on your end. If you follow your rehab protocol and are smart about your recovery, you can have a great rehabilitation process and a strong spine when all is said and done. But if you’re not careful and do things you too quickly, you can suffer a setback or hinder your long term health. Below, we share some do’s and don’ts after spine surgery so you can have the best recovery possible.
Spine Surgery Do’s
Here are some things that you’ll want to make sure you do after spine surgery.
1. Listen To Your Doctor – The phrase “doctor knows best” came about for a reason, and that’s one of the best pieces of advice we can give after surgery. They’ll be able to give you specific advice about your surgery and your recovery. This individualized advice will be your guide over the next couple of weeks.
2. Get Moving – Resist the urge to spend too much time in bed after surgery. We don’t expect you to go back to work the next day, but activity, even if it’s just standing or walking, helps in the recovery process more than lying in bed. Once your doctor allows movement or activity, slowly begin these activities, because this will help to decrease inflammation and increase healthy blood flow to the surgical site.
3. Eat Right – We’re not saying you need to stick to salads during your recovery, but don’t just live on TV dinners and delivery after surgery. You’re not going to be able to burn calories as easily while your activity levels are restricted, which can lead to weight gain and added stress on the spine. Poor foods choices can also lead to increased surgical site inflammation and inhibited recovery. Make some healthy, easy to reheat meals before surgery so you have some options to fall back on after your operation.
Spine Surgery Don’ts
Here are some things you’ll want to avoid after spine surgery.
1. Going Too Quickly – Don’t try to rush through your recovery, because if you go too hard too quickly, you can suffer a setback. You wouldn’t try to run a marathon with a week of training, and you shouldn’t expect to be fully recovered after a week of intense rehabilitation. If you’re frustrated with the progress you’re seeing during physical therapy, talk to your doctor about adjusting your schedule instead of adjusting it on your own.
2. Inconsistency – When it comes to your rehab, being consistent in your approach to therapy is key. Commit to your physical therapy and rehab program, and don’t skip sessions. If you’re inconsistent in your approach, you’re not going to maximize your recovery, and that can be the difference between living pain free or living with some discomfort for the rest of your life.
3. Ignore A Problem – Finally, is something doesn’t feel right, don’t ignore it and just hope it gets better. If you notice signs of an infection, or if your pain seems to be getting worse, not better, reach out to your doctor. Stopping small problems before they snowball into big issues are crucial for keeping your rehab on track.
For more tips, or to talk to a back specialist, reach out to Dr. Chang’s office today.