In many places affected by coronavirus, nonessential surgeries have been put on hold. While there may be some exceptions, spine surgery typically falls into this category. In fact, the American College of Surgeons (ACS) has recommended that elective procedures be postponed whenever possible for the time being. If your spine surgery has been canceled or put on hold due to this pandemic, here’s what you can do in the meantime.
The main reasons hospitals are canceling elective or nonessential surgeries is so they can deal with the overflow of coronavirus patients. However, outpatient clinics and facilities don’t treat COVID-19 patients. Check to see if one of these facilities is open in your area and if your type of spine surgery can be done safely as an outpatient procedure.
If you experience severe pain or periodic flare-ups, talk to your doctor about prescription pain medication if over-the-counter meds aren’t fully effective. Just be aware that to reduce the risk of addiction and other potential issues, painkillers are only meant to be used for short periods.
In some areas, physical therapy clinics are permitted to remain open. However, others are closed or not accepting new patients because of coronavirus concerns. If you’re having difficulty keeping up with in-person physical therapy sessions, see if virtual therapy sessions are offered. Access to remote physical therapy sessions may help you manage your spine-related discomfort until surgery can be performed by:
• Showing you how to safely perform therapeutic exercises at home
• Allowing you to give real-time feedback as you perform various routines
• Reducing your reliance on medication if you respond well to physical therapy sessions
Just because you’re not able to have surgery yet doesn’t mean you have to be cut off from access to your doctor. See if your doctor or spine specialist offers remote or telemedicine visits. This is one way you can talk about your symptoms and get advice for managing your pain. Your doctor may also ask you to make certain movements while he or she watches via a remote video connection so he or she can assess your flexibility and range of motion and get a better idea of how you’re being affected by your discomfort.
Another thing you can do if your spine surgery has been canceled due to coronavirus is talk to your Los Angeles spine surgeon. He or she can address your immediate concerns about your spine-related issues, let you know what delaying surgery could mean, and give you an idea of what kind of adjustments may need to be made to your procedure once it’s rescheduled.
Not all spine surgeries should be automatically canceled or postponed, according to the ACS. They recommend making this decision on a case-by-case basis. Factors the ACS suggests considering include the severity of the patient’s condition, the prevalence of coronavirus in the area, and the patient’s general health, including his or her immune system health.
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 preparing themselves 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.