No one wants to have surgery but sometimes it’s the most effective way to alleviate back pain. You may be wondering what to expect after spine surgery or what the best ways are to recover. Read on for practical tips for a great recovery.
- Manage pain. Post-surgical pain management is an important part of the healing process. This can include pain medication in addition to using heat and ice, and changing body position frequently. Ice is especially effective within the first 48 to 72 hours. Heat on the surgical site should be avoided as it may cause swelling. However, heat on other parts of the body experiencing tension can be helpful.
- Get enough sleep. The body needs sleep to heal but getting enough uninterrupted sleep can be difficult. If you can’t get comfortable, try lying on your back with your upper back, shoulders and head supported, with a pillow or rolled up blanket under your knees so they are slightly bent. This position should take stress off the lower back.
- Follow your post-op rehab plan. Your physician has designed a specific rehabilitation regimen to follow that may include exercise and stretching. It’s important to follow this program to facilitate healing and decrease the chance of recurrence of pain. Moving regularly – while making sure to respect any activity restrictions you may have – will also help speed the recovery process by helping circulate the blood.
- Brace yourself. Ask your doctor about wearing a post-operative brace. In some cases, braces can be extremely helpful. If your doctor does recommend wearing a brace, make sure to ask what type of brace, as there are many different styles. It’s usually a good idea to wear a cotton t-shirt under your brace to avoid chafing and help ensure proper fit.
Follow these tips and they’re sure to help improve your recovery.