Recovering from your spine surgery doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Here, our board-certified doctors share their top tips for spine surgery recovery, so you know what you can expect following your spine surgery.
1. Take Short Walks
Although you’re supposed to rest following your spine surgery, it’s also important you don’t relax too much. We encourage our patients to start taking short walks as soon as they feel ready and to steadily increase the length of these walks as they continue to heal. These walks help promote healthy blood flow to encourage healing and help patients maintain their muscle tone throughout the recovery period.
2. Eat Healthy, Balanced Meals
The way you eat has a huge impact on your body, especially after surgery. It’s no secret that your post-surgery body will be different from your pre-surgery body because you’re no longer going to be as active day to day until you recover. For this reason, we encourage patients to pay attention to what they eat to promote healthy healing. This includes meals with plenty of fruits and vegetables, as well as lean proteins and complex carbohydrates.
3. How to Lay Down After Spine Surgery
You may be laying down a lot after your spine surgery. It’s essential that when you do lay down, you’re keeping your spine in alignment and not contorting your body. To achieve this, we encourage patients to lie on their backs with their upper bodies at a slight incline. We also encourage patients to place a pillow or rolled towel under their knees to straighten the lower portion of the spine. We encourage you to ask your provider the best way to lie down following your spine surgery.
4. How to Sit After Spine Surgery
Sitting puts a lot of pressure on your spine and back, which makes sitting following your spine surgery difficult. We always suggest our patients avoid long periods of time sitting, like going on long car rides. While sitting, it’s also best to keep your knees elevated above the hips to keep the spine in alignment and take pressure off the lower spine.
5. Take Your Medications When Needed
After your spine surgery, your provider will likely prescribe you pain management medication. It’s important that you take these medications when needed and as directed by your doctor. It’s important you DO NOT take more medication than is directed by your doctor or pharmacist. If you are still feeling discomfort and need a solution, we encourage you to contact your provider for non-medicated pain management methods.
6. Avoid Baths and Pools of Water
You’ll likely have a series of incisions where your spine surgery took place, even if it was a minimally invasive procedure. To ensure your incisions heal properly and that they do not get infected, we encourage patients to avoid taking baths or sitting in pools of water.
7. Don’t Do Too Much Too Soon
The worst thing you can do for your spine surgery recovery is to go back to your normal daily activities before you’ve had a chance to fully heal. It’s important you take your time during recovery and not overdo exercising or heavy lifting before you get the OK from your provider. Too much physical activity can take a toll on your weakened spine and cause more complications in the future.
8. Listen to Your Doctor
Your doctor truly knows what is best for you – and it’s important you remember that. Listen to your provider’s instructions throughout your healing process to ensure you heal both effectively and efficiently. This means wearing a brace for a specified amount of time or going to physical therapy as directed. Don’t end your recovery activities too soon, or you may see spine complications occur.
9. Check for Signs of Throat Irritation
While this tip may sound a little odd, it’s important for patients who had upper back or neck surgery to pay attention to the way they swallow throughout their recovery period. Although rare, it is possible for patients to experience weakness in their throat muscles, causing them to have trouble swallowing as they usually would. For patients who do experience throat irritation or trouble swallowing, speech and swallow therapy may be recommended.
10. Follow Through with Physical Therapy
Physical therapy is one of the most important things you can do for your spinal health. Talk to your doctor about getting regular physical therapy sessions to help you regain mobility and flexibility. If you are prescribed physical therapy, it’s important to go to every session consistently for the best results.
Spine Specialists Near Me
You don’t have to recover from your spine surgery alone. Instead, trust the team of board-certified doctors at EMU Health. Our compassionate team members are proud to offer many healthcare services, including referrals for physical therapy, speech and swallow therapy, and more.
In addition to spinal surgery and rehabilitation, our state-of-the-art facility is home to a wide range of specialty fields, including primary care, interventional radiology, and worker’s compensation.
If you have any questions about our services or the symptoms you’ve been experiencing, we encourage you to contact us at (718) 850-4368. To schedule an appointment with one of our skilled doctors, feel free to use our convenient online appointment request form.