Staying Comfortable Following Back Surgery

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Any type of back surgery is a process that extends beyond the operation itself and includes time to safely recover and ease back into your normal routine. Being as informed and prepared for your recovery period as possible can ease your anxiety and improve the results you eventually see from your procedure.

Follow Post-Discharge Instructions

You'll be given detailed instructions about everything from how to safely shower and get around your home to what type of initial activity you should be doing to strengthen or recondition muscles supporting your spine prior to your discharge. You should have an idea of what type of post-surgery pain is normal and what's something you should report. If you're in doubt, err on the side of caution and contact our spine care center.

Maintain Your Comfort

Wear comfortable clothing and get as much assistance as possible during your recovery period. Use a supportive pillow while sleeping, including one under your knees to retain your spine's natural alignment. Place a cushion behind your back while sitting up and rely on support devices like canes, walkers, and hand-operated grabbers to reach high shelves. Apply heat to the surgical site as necessary to ease any post-surgery pain to further maintain your comfort.

Actively Participate in PT

Movement is a part of the recovery process after back surgery. Communicate with your physical therapist and share your input as your sessions progress. You're likely to be instructed to get some daily exercise on your own, which typically starts off slowly with things like short walks or returning to activities such as working in your garden. Gentle continuous movement also helps increase circulation and improve blood flow.

Set Small, Achievable Goals

From walking around the house each day to visiting neighbors or going to the local park to play with your children or grandchildren, goals following surgery should be something you can realistically achieve. Your return to work will depend on how demanding your job is physically. Discuss specific personal goals with your doctor to get an idea of what previous activities you can get back to doing.

Set up a separate appointment with your surgeon prior to your back surgery solely for the purpose of asking questions and getting on the same page as far as the expected results. Depending on the specific procedure performed, the recovery period could last from a few months to several months beyond the initial surgery.