COVID-19 has been challenging for many people, including anyone needing non-urgent or elective spine surgery. The good news is such procedures are, for the most part, being performed again. However, there could still be delays if surgery centers or hospitals are backed up or purposely spacing out non-emergency surgeries. If your procedure has been delayed because of coronavirus, there are some ways you can prepare in the meantime.
This may seem counterproductive, but exercise prior to surgery can be beneficial, since it targets muscles and other soft tissues that take pressure off your spine. Just check with your doctor first to see what you can safely do. Forms of exercise that tend to be suggested for people with existing back pain include:
• Water-based exercises
• Yoga and similar gentle, controlled forms of exercise
• Low-impact aerobic activities such as walking
Use the extra time you have until your surgery takes place to make healthy and beneficial lifestyle adjustments. Getting a head start can give you time to get used to what you’ll likely be advised to do post-surgery anyway. Pay particular attention to what you eat, since excess weight can put extra stress on a healing spine.
It can be frustrating and emotionally stressful to have to put your spine surgery plans on hold. However, dwelling on the negative aspects of a surgery delay may affect your mental health and leave you less prepared for your operation. Instead, remain focused on your goals by:
• Thinking about what you want to accomplish after surgery
• Turning to family members and friends for emotional support
• Embracing the other tips discussed here to maintain a feeling that you’re actually doing something productive for your spine
Just because your surgery is delayed doesn’t mean you have to stop communicating with your Los Angeles spine surgeon or medical team. Reach out to either your surgeon or an accessible contact person to get some personalized advice. You should be able to get some tips about appropriate modifications to activities and other things you can do to protect your spine until surgery can be scheduled or rescheduled.
Rehabilitation isn’t just something you do after surgery. It’s a process that can also start prior to surgery. This is when it’s referred to as “prehab.” A physical therapist or similar professional can get you ready for the kind of movements you’ll likely need to focus on post-surgery. It usually involves therapeutic exercises or stretches you can do with a therapist in person or virtually. You may also be told what kind of exercises you can safely do before your procedure takes place.
The one thing you shouldn’t do when waiting for spine surgery is absolutely nothing. Limited activity can make your existing symptoms worse by weakening muscles that support your spine in some way. The more effort you put into surgery preparations, the better your odds will be of experiencing meaningful results after your procedure.
Whether they have artificial disc replacements or minimally invasive procedures such as coflex surgery, Los Angeles spine surgery patients can boost their chances for smooth recovery by being prepared ahead of time. For more information about how to stay prepared for your procedure, reach out to the experienced professionals at The Spine Institute. Call us today at 310-828-7757 to schedule an appointment.