Dos and Don'ts for a Quick Recovery after Spine Surgery

Posted on May 1, 2018


Moving ahead with back surgery is one of the toughest decisions you'll ever have to make. However, once you've gone through with it, the prognosis is good provided you take all the necessary steps. Naturally, you'll want to discuss the recovery process with your orthopedic spine specialist in Long Island, NY, but here are a few things to keep in mind.

Look for Infection

In the days immediately following surgery, you'll just want to rest and get your bearings. However, while resting up, be cognizant of any signs of infection. In particular, look for signs of a fever, and redness, or swelling near the incision. Most importantly, follow orders from your doctor and take your medications as prescribed.

Physical Therapy

The importance of physical therapy cannot be overestimated. Don't treat your PT as a sideline, make it a priority. If you don't relearn how to move and take care of yourself, you could suffer serious consequences down the road, perhaps even permanently losing some capability. In the short-term, physical therapy will train you how to move and twist your back in certain ways so as to avoid pain or injury.


Move Regularly

When you're not in physical therapy, there are some simple things you can do every day to help with recovery. Any way you can think of to move regularly and gently helps blood flow and accelerates healing. Rest is important, but shouldn't take place at the expense of healthy movement. Also, if your doctor recommends you wear a brace, do it. A brace can help stabilize your back while it heals. Although it may seem limiting, by securing your back, a brace actually improves your mobility while you recover. Finally, sleep is critical to your recovery. Any position that doesn't cause pain is a good position. Sleeping on the side with a pillow between your knees is one recommended position, but whatever allows you to have hours of uninterrupted sleep will accelerate the recovery process.

This Takes Time

One of the most important things is don't be impatient. You just went through a major surgery. It's natural to occasionally feel discouraged, but just because you're not making progress as quickly as you'd like doesn't mean you're not making progress.

Things to Avoid

There are a few things you may do every day that you'll have to skip while you're in recovery. Climbing stairs, bending at the waist (bend at the knees instead), and lifting heavy objects such as children or laundry should all be avoided. Driving is forbidden for at least two weeks, and if you've wanted to quit smoking, now's the time to do it, as smoking inhibits the healing process.

Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind is if you encounter any problems, any pain you weren't expecting, or trouble with your urine or bowel movements, don't hesitate to call your orthopedic specialist in Long Island, NY. They're there to help you.