There are some spine-related procedures that will require you to stay in a hospital, medical clinic, or recovery area for a while before you’re discharged. Even if you’ll be going home the same day, it never hurts to be as prepared as possible for the period immediately after your surgery when you’ll need to be observed. Here are some tips to keep in mind to make your stay at a hospital or clinic, no matter how long it ends up being, easier after spine surgery.
1. Educate Yourself
A good way to start planning for your post-surgery recovery is to educate yourself about your procedure and what you can expect afterward. Your Santa Monica spine surgeon or the staff should be able to either directly answer your questions or give you the resources you’ll need to gain more insight. Having a better understanding of your spine surgery can make your stay in the hospital or recovery area easier by:
• Keeping your post-surgery expectations realistic
• Helping you prepare mentally for your rehab process
• Allowing you to set goals you’ll be more likely to achieve
2. Bring Some Mind-Occupying Entertainment
Just lying in a hospital bed thinking about your surgery could make your recovery period incredibly stressful. If you know you’ll need to stay in the hospital for a while after your spine surgery, bring some things with you in your overnight bag so you have activities to keep your mind occupied. Possibilities include:
• Reading books and doing crossword puzzles
• Playing handheld or laptop games
• Using your laptop to watch movies or get some work done remotely
• Watching TV in your room*
*Some hospitals charge a fee for using the TV, so consider bringing headphones for your laptop if you’d rather watch shows or movies using your own online sources.
3. Welcome Visitors
Sometimes the best medicine during recovery from spine surgery while in the hospital is regular visits from friends and family members. Before you have your surgery, ask about the visiting policy at the place where you’ll be staying during your recovery, then let people you want to visit know about these policies so they can come during regular visiting hours. If there are times when you don’t feel like having company, let the nursing staff know so they can tell visitors it’s not a good time..
4. Stay Hydrated
It’s important to drink plenty of water during all phases of your recovery, including the initial period when you’re not all that active yet. Also, experiencing constipation immediately after any type of surgery is common, so drinking more water immediately after your procedure may minimize this problem. Increasing your water intake can also prevent uncomfortable cramps and help more nutrients get to the part of your spine that’s healing.
5. Discuss Pain Management Options
Having spine surgery doesn’t mean you’ll immediately be free of pain, especially during the initial period when your body is healing. In fact, pain is usually most noticeable during the first 48 hours after surgery. Normally, an effort is made to use the lowest dosage of pain meds possible to prevent issues with dependence. Even so, your comfort is important, so let the recovery staff know how much pain you’re feeling and whether or not your post-surgery medication is helping so appropriate adjustments can be made.
Whether they have artificial disc replacement or minimally invasive microsurgery such as a kyphoplasty procedure, Santa Monica spine surgery patients can help their recovery go as smoothly as possible by following the tips listed above. For more information about how to prepare for a safe, healthy recovery, reach out to the experienced professionals at The Spine Institute. Call us today at 310-828-7757 to schedule an appointment.