Most people aren’t aware of how much they bend and twist throughout a typical day. If you’ve recently had spine surgery, you’ll need to be especially mindful of these movements. Not doing so could result in reinjury, delayed healing, the misplacement of spinal hardware, or the development of entirely new spine-related problems. While every situation is different, there are some basic tips you can keep in mind to help you safely bend and twist after spine surgery, including procedures such as back fusion alternatives. Los Angeles patients should use the following methods while they recover.
1. Bend with Your Knees
You probably won’t be able to avoid having to pick anything up as you recover from spine surgery, especially if you have children. When you do need to bend and pick something up, bend with your knees and not at your waist to take most of the pressure off your healing spine. Further redirect stress away from your spine when bending by:
• Keeping your feet shoulder-width apart
• Maintaining a straight spine as you bend at the knees
• Avoiding any twisting or turning as you bend and lift yourself back up
2. Sit on a Bed or Chair to Put Socks and Shoes On
Putting on shoes and socks can be a daily challenge if you’re recovering from spine surgery. It can also be an easy way to put too much stress on certain areas. Avoid this possibility by sitting on a chair or the side of your bed so you can lift each leg up as you put on shoes and socks. Another option is to lie down on your bed when it comes time to put on or take off socks and shoes. There are also shoe and sock aids you can find online that help with this task. Using slip-on shoes during your recovery period is another way to avoid the need to bend.
3. Pivot Instead of Twisting
It’s difficult to entirely avoid twisting motions, but it’s still necessary if you don’t want to experience a setback as you recover from spine surgery. The solution is to get yourself into the habit of pivoting when you need to suddenly change direction. Take the following steps:
• Rotate your feet in your preferred direction
• Point your body in the same direction as your feet
• Move your entire body all at once as you shift directions
4. Watch Your Posture
In general, poor posture isn’t good for your spine. Posture issues can be even more of a problem if your spine is weakened in certain areas as it’s healing. Poor posture can also affect your circulation and make your spine-supporting muscles work harder. To improve your posture, pay attention to how you sit and stand. For instance, when sitting, keep your head lined up with your shoulders. When you stand, maintain the same head-neck alignment while also avoiding excessive leaning. Being mindful of your posture following spine surgery also means:
• Not slouching
• Watching your neck/upper back movements as you use mobile devices
• Avoiding excessive head tilting
• Shifting your position as you sit
• Getting up and moving as much as possible during your recovery period
5. Use Handrails, Grabbers, and Similar Devices
Take advantage of some of the various convenience devices available to make life easier as you recover from spine surgery. For instance, handrails and grabbers can be placed in the bathroom to make it easier to use the toilet, shower, and/or bathtub. Handheld reaching devices may also come in handy for times when you need to get things down from higher shelves. Your doctor or surgeon can offer additional suggestions about convenience devices you may want to consider.
The best way to make sure your recovery goes as smoothly as possible is to closely follow the instructions of your Los Angeles spine surgeon. If you need more detailed advice about how to recover safely from spine surgery, consult the pioneering spinal health experts at The Spine Institute. Our industry-leading physicians have unparalleled expertise in every aspect of spine health and spine surgery. To schedule a consultation, give us a call today at 310-828-7757.