Spinal surgery can be an overwhelming and painful process. But the treatment doesn’t end once you exit the operating room. You also have to engage in post-surgical care to prevent injury and have you back on your normal activities as soon as possible.
The following tips can help ensure an effective and pain-free recuperation period.
DO: Ask for assistance.
The first few days after your surgery can be the most challenging. You may still be in severe pain or feeling the first effects of medication. You may also be unable to walk great distances or complete tasks without extra support. Your risk of injuries mismanaged medications and failure to meet dietary needs may also increase.
Hiring a private duty caregiver to help you on a daily or weekly basis will significantly benefit you, whether you live alone or with others. A caregiver may help you fulfill errands, including grocery shopping, prescription pickup, meal preparation, transportation to your appointments, and medication reminders.
DO: Engage in physical therapy.
Physical therapy is a huge part of successful scoliosis treatment. Your physical therapist will teach you to do activities efficiently without putting your spine in painful and dangerous positions.
Apart from the gentle physical therapy prescribed by your surgeon, do not try performing exercises or other strenuous activities on your own. These activities may disrupt your recovery or even result in injury.
DON’T: Lift or bend.
Your doctor will likely ask you to avoid movements that require bending, twisting, or lifting anything over five pounds following surgery. Squat or bend at the knees instead of bending over at the waist when picking up light items. Use a simple grabber to assist you in picking up objects if no one is there to help you. Wear flip-flops and other slip-on shoes so that you don’t have to bend or tie your shoes.
DO: Watch for infection.
Patients who just had surgery are at higher risk of catching an infection. Be alert for signs of infection like swelling, fever, redness, or drainage at the incision site.
Keeping the incision clean and dry will protect yourself from infection. Not missing your prescribed medications will also speed up the recovery process.
DON’T: Push yourself too hard.
Regular movements will allow your body to heal quickly, but don’t overdo it. Climbing the stairs, for example, can strain your spine and prolong your recovery. Take short walks daily if you can, and gradually increase your distance each day. Daily exercise will help you build strength and tone your muscles.
Movement keeps your blood circulating, which drives your heart, lungs, and the rest of your muscles to function efficiently. However, keep in mind that regular movement must be paired with a substantial amount of sleep to ensure you don’t strain your body.
DO: Wear a brace.
You may also be advised to wear a brace to help stabilise your back while sitting or walking. A brace will also let you move easily without bending or twisting your spine. You may have to wear a back brace for two weeks up to three months depending on the kind of surgery you had and the severity of your condition. Regardless, follow your surgeon’s recommendations to recover more quickly and with less pain.
Apart from these pointers, allowing your spine to heal correctly also requires eating healthy food, getting a good night’s sleep, and following your surgeon’s instructions. Even if some practices may feel unnecessary, remember that all the extra effort will make your recovery smoother and faster.