The first type of spine surgery in recorded history was performed in the 7th century. In the 21st century, we’ve reached a point where many common procedures can be performed with minimally invasive techniques that involve smaller incisions and fewer risks. Even so, recovery may not be as simple and straightforward as you expect. This doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have any serious post-surgery problems. However, there are some things you might not know about the recovery process you should be aware of so you’re better prepared for your procedure.
Sleep Could Be Difficult for a While
Some sleep positions may trigger pain within the area of your spine that was operated on until tissues fully heal. Increase your odds of getting the kind of restorative sleep that’s good for your spine and its supporting parts by having a solid sleep plan, which may include:
• Adjusting your sleep position to one that puts less stress on your spine
• Using a supportive mattress and pillow
• Taking your medication about 30 minutes or so before bed so it has time to kick in
• Doing your recommended exercises during the day (but not right before bedtime) to strengthen the muscles around your spine and ease pressure placed on it when lying down
Automatically Turning to NSAIDs for Relief May Not Be the Best Plan
While you can go to any drugstore to pick up ibuprofen, aspirin, or other types of over-the-counter NSAIDs, don’t automatically assume this is the best way to relieve your post-surgery discomfort. For instance, if you had fusion surgery, anti-inflammatory medications may inhibit the tissue-healing and bone-formation processes. Before taking any meds on your own, check with your Santa Monica spine surgeon.
Physical Therapy Isn’t a Passive Thing
Physical therapy (PT) after spine surgery may not be your favorite thing in the world, but it’s designed to get you back to your normal routine ASAP. However, PT is only going to facilitate the healing and recovery process if you actively participate and go beyond simply attending each session and going through the motions.
If you’re not reasonably pushing yourself, working toward clear goals, and giving honest feedback about what’s working for you and what isn’t, you may reach a point during your recovery where you’re not making any significant progress. Active participation in PT also means following recommendations for exercises and stretches you can do at home between sessions.
It’s Okay to Ask for Help
No matter how independent you normally are, recovery from spine surgery shouldn’t be something you do completely on your own. Even with less invasive procedures, you’re going to have certain limitations. Your surgeon can give you a better idea of what kind of assistance you may need. Generally, patients recovering from spine surgery appreciate a helping hand with:
• Household tasks involving reaching, bending, or lifting heavy objects, such as full laundry baskets
• Running errands and picking up necessary medications
• Meal preparations
• Reaching or accessing certain commonly used items
• Getting up and down stairs
Don’t be afraid to reach out to your surgeon or support staff if you have any questions as you recover from spine surgery. Simply knowing that what you’re experiencing is perfectly normal may provide some much-appreciated peace of mind as you go through your recovery period. You should also check in with your surgeon before resuming some of your previous activities or going back to work.
Thankfully, spine surgery techniques are much more advanced than they were in the 7th century. Whether they have artificial disc replacement or minimally invasive microsurgery such as a kyphoplasty procedure, Santa Monicaspine surgery patients recover much more quickly and with less pain than spine surgery patients did only a few years ago. Knowing facts such as the ones listed above in advance can help your recovery go as smoothly as possible. 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.