5 Tips to Help You Recover from Back Surgery

recover from back surgery

Minimally invasive or not, spine surgery of any kind is a serious procedure. If you want to safely strengthen your spine and prevent future injuries, you must take the recovery process as seriously as the surgery itself. Here are five tips to help you recover from back surgery.

1. Follow Post-Op Instruction

Post-op instructions are not merely suggestions from your physician or care team. Listen carefully, read any instructions that are given to you and ask questions about anything that you don’t understand prior to being discharged.

Additional instructions may be given, but they will include guidelines for physical activity, incision care and prescription pain medication. There will be restrictions on bending, lifting and twisting, so you may need to use adaptive devices like a walker, cane or elevated toilet seat.

If you have questions after you return home, contact your physician’s office for clarification.

2. Take Spinal Rehabilitation Seriously

Your doctor will likely recommend a spinal rehabilitation program that is customized to your unique lifestyle and needs. This program may require one or several types of treatment including therapeutic exercise, an at-home program, functional training, or techniques to improve posture. Follow all recommended guidelines, be prompt and engaged at any physical therapy appointments and follow through with at-home exercises that are advised.

3. Listen to Your Body

Immediately after surgery, taking pain medication as prescribed will help you stay ahead of the pain. Substantial pain can hinder you from getting the rest that your body needs in order to heal.

These medications won’t provide instant relief and in most cases do not relieve 100% of the pain, they lessen the pain, so taking them as directed before you need it will help the recovery process. If you have a history of drug addiction or concerns about using opioids, discuss them with your surgeon prior to surgery.

Ease yourself back into your daily activities but pay attention to cues from your body so that you don’t do too much, too fast. There is a difference between normal discomfort and pain.

4. Ask For and Accept Help

When people ask if there’s anything they can do to help, don’t let your pride get in the way of accepting. Better yet, don’t wait for them to offer and ask for help if you need it.

You won’t be able to drive for several weeks, so make sure you prearrange transportation for follow-up appointments and picking up prescription refills. Don’t forget about menial tasks like grocery shopping, laundry, cooking and washing dishes.

Support from those around you will have a larger impact on your recovery than you might realize.

5. Be Patient

Spinal rehabilitation is different for everyone. More invasive procedures like traditional open back surgery will experience longer and more difficult rehabilitation compared to the shortened recovery lengths of those that are minimally invasive. Regardless of which category you fall into, it’s important to be patient and allow your body the proper time it needs to heal.

Contact Pacific Spine

Following these five tips are critical to the overall outcome of your spine surgery. They will reduce the risk of infection, enhance your results, promote faster healing, and overall make for a more satisfying experience.

Dr. Keenen of Pacific Spine Specialists is highly experienced with state-of-the-art procedures and leading-edge technology for faster recovery times. Learn more about his approach to surgery and call 503-885-9391 to schedule a consultation today.