Spinal Surgery Do’s and Don’ts

Spinal Surgery Do’s and Don’ts

Being diagnosed with a condition or disorder can be overwhelming but once your physician or specialist delivers the news that surgery should be considered as an option, it can be frustrating, overwhelming, and scary at the same time. Although spinal surgery is a big decision, it can also be the last resort to the relief of back pain and improvement of symptoms. Quality of life can be significantly better-bringing hope to patients who used to need help for almost every single daily routine throughout life.

Spinal surgical cases have been increasing globally especially in the United States. With this increase, it is important for patients to know what they should and should not do after their surgery in order to achieve a speedy and safer recovery. Patients who require spinal surgery need to embrace their requirements for optimal healing. It is therefore important for patients who have doubts to raise their questions or concerns with their physician or surgeon ahead of time.


Before Surgery

Before deciding on spinal surgery, patients should try to understand why it is a necessity. Illinois Pain Institute encourages seeking a second opinion for back surgery and spine surgery to understand the non-surgical options. Other concerns include their natural course of the condition if surgery is not performed. Next, patients should enquire about the side effects, potential risks, and complications associated with the surgery. Last but not least, patients should be concerned about specific risk factors that may apply to them. For example, smokers should quit smoking, those who are overweight should try to lose weight, and those on blood thinning medication should inform their healthcare team of this. For convenience purposes, patients might want to move their temporary bedroom to the first level to avoid the need for climbing stairs.


After Surgery

After the surgery is performed, patients are recommended to take the prescribed amount of pain medication to reduce their risk of dependency on pain killers or overdose. If the amount of pain or discomfort cannot be managed, make an appointment with your doctor or healthcare team to ensure that you are not in pain. Consult with your healthcare team on the use of heat or ice therapy for pain relief.

Some doctors recommend that a brace to be worn to help stabilize your back after the surgery to ensure that the spine heals in the correct alignment, Physical therapy and rehabilitation is also a big part in the healing and recovery process of patients after spinal surgery. It helps to strengthen your core muscles to prevent future spinal injury. It also improves mobility and flexibility and this can help the patient with their quality of life and functioning in daily activities.

Naturally, after surgery, activities should be limited to gentle exercises and patients should ease back gradually into their routine. Patients are not recommended to climb stairs or bend at the waist the first few weeks after surgery. They are also asked to not carry or lift anything heavy as there is a risk of re-injury. Other no-no’s include driving, smoking, and exercising as it could lead to complications and a slow recovery process.