3 Things to Do While Recovering from Back Surgery

1. Be Active

Back surgery can take from 3 months to 6 months to recover. This range of recovery time can vary according to your age, nutrition and physical activity. You need to mobilize as soon as possible after spinal surgery. Physiotherapists will guide you in your recovery process at Colorado spine surgery.[1] Many physiotherapists will advise to start physiotherapy within 24 hours of surgery, which will prevent your back muscles from becoming stiff; this is a gradual process, and you are not required to get up soon after the surgery.[2]

First, you will be taught how to put on the back brace and take it off – assuming you have one; you can move your arms and legs around. This simple exercise will help you to realize how far you can move without having pain. Gradually, you can move out of the bed into the chair. Finally, you can start walking with the use of a walker. Walking can improve your outcome significantly after surgery; it gets your body back into the real world. Early walking can reduce much of the post-operative complications such as bed sores, blood clots, heart attacks and so on.[3] Walking can also improve your circulation; this will lead to faster wound healing. You should stay active even after you get discharged from the hospital and try to do the exercises the physiotherapist taught you.

2. Eat Healthy

One of the main things relating to the recovery of patients after surgery is nutrition. Surgery is a catabolic event; it consumes lot of energy. You have to keep fasting for 6-8 hours. You will bleed slightly during surgery. The pain after surgery can also consume a lot of energy. Therefore, you will need to replenish your energy stores by maintaining a healthy diet. You are going to need all the proteins, calories, vitamins and trace minerals for good wound healing – especially a diet rich in Vitamin A, C, E, D, B12, folic acid, and trace minerals such as selenium, cobalt, calcium, zinc, magnesium, potassium are needed in increased amounts.[4] At Colorado spine surgery, our dieticians will guide you to select the best possible dietary plan so that you get back on your feet fit as ever.

3. Maintain Personal Hygiene

You may be sore after the hospital stay. After returning home, you need to care for the post-surgical healing areas because they can get infected and can lead to Sepsis. Failing to do so could require you to stay at the hospital for additional time and consume more money. You can also seek the help of your loved ones to check whether there are any signs of infection like redness and swelling – as simple as this sounds, it’s often the source when there is a problem. Also, you need to keep the surgical site dry; it may take some time before you can take a bath.

ERAS protocol, or enhanced recovery, after surgery is a novel approach that is being tried in spinal surgery.[5] This is still undergoing research; it could possibly revolutionize recovery after spinal surgery in the future.

Consult with an expert – such as Dr. Kumar at Colorado Spine & Scoliosis – to answer these important questions.