While often a last resort, spine surgery is sometimes the best option for relieving or minimizing discomfort, preventing further damage, and boosting overall quality of life. To some extent, spine-related procedures are fairly individualized in terms of the eventual outcome and the specific steps involved. Even so, there are a handful of things all patients tend to need after spinal surgery.
The soft tissues that support the spine in some way can become weak following surgery. Once you’ve gotten past the initial healing phase, you’ll likely be advised to see a physical therapist or similar specialist. This allows you to receive a customized post-surgery therapy plan. It’s best to actively participate during and between sessions, since physical therapy can help with:
• Preventing scar tissue formation
• Increasing range of motion
• Strengthening muscle groups that ease the burden on your healing spine
Nobody expects you to jump back to an active lifestyle right after spine surgery. Santa Monica patients should understand that some initial rest is good for a spine that’s healing, but they shouldn’t stay completely inactive. Minimize muscle stagnation and boost circulation by gradually stepping up your activity level in a way that’s safe and comfortable for you.
Movement is good in terms of getting active again for spine surgery patients. At the same time, expect to have some reasonable restrictions surrounding certain activities or movements after surgery. For instance, you’ll likely have restrictions on being able to drive and how you ease back into your job, especially if it’s more physically demanding work. Being cautious with movement reduces your risk of pushing yourself too hard or experiencing post-surgery setbacks. If you do progress well with your therapy after surgery, check with your doctor before stepping things up.
Regardless of the type of spinal surgery that’s performed, medication is often needed to some extent. This can be prescription or over-the-counter pain meds or medications that keep post-op inflammation at a minimum. No matter what medications you need to take, have a plan to effectively and safely manage your medication to avoid the risk of addiction and other potential issues. If you have concerns about your meds, talk to your doctor, surgeon, or pharmacist.
Lastly, spinal surgery patients also need reliable support systems during recovery. This typically includes support that could be in the form of:
• Rides to and from follow-up appointments
• Friends or family members who can lend a hand with errands
• People they can talk to for added emotional support
• Help with more demanding tasks around the house
You may also benefit from handheld reachers or grabbers and other assistance accessories you can use at home as you recover. Additionally, it’s important to talk to your doctor or surgeon if you’re noticing any new, unexpected, or unusual discomfort after your operation.
Whether they have major spine surgery or a minimally invasive procedure such as vertebroplasty surgery, Santa Monica patients will get better much sooner if they have everything their bodies need to heal. If you’re scheduled to have spine surgery, you should plan for your post-surgery needs ahead of time to make sure your recovery goes as smoothly as possible. The experienced professionals at The Spine Institute can give you all the information you need to make your recovery as safe and comfortable as possible. Call us today at 310-828-7757 to schedule an appointment.