Dos and Don’ts After Spine Surgery

If we’ve diagnosed you with a problem that requires surgery, you’re probably concerned, and maybe a little scared. Though the mention of the word surgery strikes fear into many hearts, the truth is that the introduction of minimally-invasive surgical techniques has been a real game changer for patients, allowing the specialists at our neck and back pain specialty practice to use much smaller incisions that mean faster recovery times, less pain, and less down time. In many cases your surgery will not even require an overnight in the hospital, and will have you headed home just a few hours after your procedure.

Though the introduction of these new procedures represents a dramatic improvement over days past, it does not mean that their impact is immediate. Your body will still need time to heal, and proper recovery will rely on you following all of the care instructions that you are provided with upon discharge.

Our New Jersey spine specialty practice views every one of our patients as our partner in their care, and when you’ve had surgery we need you to understand the importance of adhering to our instructions during your recuperation period. Here are some tips for making sure that you minimize your own discomfort and protect yourself from injury.

  • Do Not Push Yourself. We know that you are anxious to get back to your normal activities, but being a patient requires patience. Though we do not advocate complete bedrest, it is important to remember that sleep helps your body heal and minimizes the sensation of pain. Get a good night of sleep every night, and during the day feel free to move, but do it slowly, gently and regularly.
  • Follow Our Instructions – Every patient is provided with discharge instructions that detail exactly what they need to do in terms of taking medication, using medical devices such as a neck or back brace, level of activity, whether to shower or bathe, and more. Make sure that you read the instructions before you leave, ask questions about anything you don’t understand, and stick to the program that is outlined.
  • Rely on the Kindness of Friends – You need help in the first few days after surgery. If you live alone, ask friends or relatives to stop by and help you with errands and meal preparation. If you need medical assistance, homecare is available to get you through the first few days until you’re feeling more confident.
  • Avoid Bending and Lifting – You never realize how much you bend and lift until you’re instructed not to do so. Before you go in for surgery, prepare your house by putting anything that is down low up on counters and at easy reach. Having a plastic grabber to help you pick up small items or reach for things that are up high is very helpful. And get yourself some slip-on shoes so you don’t have to tie shoelaces.

The idea of surgery may be scary, but it also holds the promise of dramatic improvement of function and reduction of pain. If you would like to see one of our New Jersey spine specialists for diagnosis of your condition, contact us today to set up an appointment.

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