You may be well prepared for the spine procedure you’re planning to have to eliminate or ease your symptoms. However, there’s more to spine surgery than the steps involved to stabilize your spine or take pressure off of your nerves. It’s just as important to know what you should be doing as you recover. To help you out, here are some dos and don’ts brought to keep in mind as you rebuild your muscle strength and regain your mobility, range of motion, and flexibility following surgery.
It’s perfectly fine to rest immediately after spine surgery. It can be helpful to give your body time to naturally heal. In some cases, you can do more harm than good by being overly ambitious about getting up and about.
Don’t: Overdo It with Rest
At the same time, don’t use your recovery period as an excuse to stay in bed and let family members and friends do everything for you. Your spine-supporting muscles need to be sufficiently stimulated so they can regain strength and ease the burden on your spine.
After you get approval from your doctor, try to get regular exercise to increase circulation and speed up the healing process. You have many different options when it comes to the types of exercise you can do after surgery, including:
• Casual walking at a pace that’s comfortable for you
• Physical therapy exercises performed under supervision
• Gentle stretching and low-impact movements
Don’t: Push Yourself Too Hard
If you were fairly active prior to when you started having spine problems, don’t assume you’ll be able to get right back to the same level with sports or exercise. Listen to your body as you become more active. Slow down if you’re noticing signs of overdoing it, such as pain worsening around the surgical area.
Do: Explore Pain Management Options
You’re not necessarily going to be completely free of pain after spine surgery. It takes time for your body to recover. With fusion surgery, you may have some lingering discomfort until the fusion fully forms and your spine becomes more stable. There are many pain management techniques that can help you remain comfortable as you recover, such as:
• Massage therapy
• Mindful meditation to change how you think about your pain
• Hot and cold therapy
Don’t: Rely Too Much on Medications or Try to Do without Them
People tend to have two schools of thought with pain medications, which are commonly prescribed following spine surgery. Some patients get into the habit of relying solely on their medications to manage their pain, which can lead to addiction as tolerance builds up over time. Other patients have an aversion to taking any medication. However, there are some medications that can reduce the risk of post-surgery infection. Also, having your pain under control can make it easier to actively participate in physical therapy as you recover. Ideally, you want to find a happy medium between taking medication and doing other things to facilitate your recovery. Achieve this goal by:
• Tracking your responses to various medications so adjustments can be made if you’re not experiencing the desired level of pain relief
• Letting your doctor know what level of post-surgery discomfort is tolerable for you if you’re concerned about taking too much medication
• Working with your doctor and physical therapist to develop a plan to transition you off of some medications as you recover
Lastly, don’t assume you’ll be on your own after you have spine surgery. It’s perfectly normal to have concerns about the speed of your recovery or any lingering symptoms you may still be experiencing. Contact your Beverly Hills spine surgeon or support staff if you have any issues you want to discuss. Even if your concerns turn out to be nothing too serious, it never hurts to err on the side of caution as you recover from spine surgery.
Get in touch with The Spine Institute if you’re experiencing any sort of discomfort or prolonged pain after your fusion surgery orminimally invasive neck surgery. Beverly Hills patients trust Dr. Hyun Bae and his team of expert surgeons to address post-surgical complications and discomfort. Call 310-828-7757 today to schedule an appointment.