It’s understandable to want to get back to what’s considered “normal” for you following spine surgery as quickly as possible. However, not heeding the advice of your rehab therapist or pushing yourself beyond what’s recommended could result in frustrating and unexpected setbacks as you recover. Trying to avoid any of the following mistakes following spine surgery can increase your odds of seeing positive results as your tissues heal and you increase your strength, mobility, and flexibility.
1. Pushing Yourself Too Fast
There’s a reason rehab is slow and progressive in nature. Any type of spine surgery can affect your muscles and tissues. Plus, the affected area needs time to heal. If you had spinal fusion, Los Angeles surgeons recommend taking it easy at first because going too fast could prevent a fusion from properly forming. If you honestly feel you are progressing better than expected, talk to your doctor or physical therapist. Also, be cautious about what you do between sessions. Stick to recommended exercises. Movements that involve bending, excessive stretching or reaching, or twisting are purposely discouraged to prevent re-injury.
2. Having Unrealistic Expectations
Setting goals is fine as long as you and your surgeon and rehab therapist are on the same page. Let everyone involved in your post-surgery care know what you hope to achieve and allow them to set realistic and achievable goals for you. Accepting there may be some limitations as you heal doesn’t mean you can’t eventually get to where you want to be. You just have to give your spine and its supporting muscles time to recover first.
3. Letting Stress or Anxiety Get the Best of You
You may get frustrated with your progress or have concerns about whether you’ll be able to get back to work or participate in the activities you enjoy without pain. Such concerns are normal, but worrying about these things to the point where you are overly stressed or anxious can affect how your body heals. If you have concerns, discuss them with your doctor instead of keeping them to yourself. You may also benefit from joining a support group of other recovering spine surgery patients.
4. Not Making Pre-Surgery Preparations
Before having surgery, you should have a good idea of what to expect during recovery. Arrange for friends or family members to visit when it’s not easy for you to get out so you have access to support and assistance. Further prepare for your rehab period by placing things you’ll need on a daily basis within easy reach and making some healthy meals ahead of time that you can easily heat up later.
5. Not Clarifying Post-Surgery Instructions
Your Los Angeles spine surgeon will give you instructions and guidelines to follow when you return home. If you’re not completely clear on anything that’s recommended, don’t just ignore the instructions. You should have a contact number for your surgeon or someone on the staff if there’s anything you’re not sure about. Even if you are only confused about a few things, it’s better to err on the side of caution and ask questions.
6. Failing to Communicate with Your Therapist
Rehab and physical therapists can’t read minds. They base their recommendations on input from your surgeon and direct input you provide during your sessions. Let them know if certain movements are too painful or if you think you can handle something a little more challenging.
7. Making Unhealthy Dietary Choices
If you didn’t have the best dietary habits prior to having minimally invasive spine surgery, Los Angeles dietitians can help you develop healthier habits. Fruits, green leafy veggies, low-fat dairy products, and lean proteins are good for you, and they can also minimize inflammation and provide essential nutrients to healing tissues.
8. Ignoring Signs That Something’s Not Right
Spine surgeons do their best to make sure nothing is overlooked during procedures they perform. Even so, there are times when an infection develops or something else happens that requires additional attention. Pay attention to things like redness and swelling around the surgical site and an increase in pain for no apparent reason. Report anything out of the ordinary to your doctor.
If you are experiencing chronic back pain and believe you might need spinal surgery, reach out to Dr. Hyun Bae and his team of highly trained surgeons at The Spine Institute Center. Dr. Bae can diagnose the source of your pain and offer tips on how to recover successfully following the procedure. Call 310-858-7757 today to schedule an in-person evaluation.