If you are planning to have back surgery in Houston in the near future, you may understandably be concerned about what to expect during the recovery period. Back surgery recovery essentially begins long before you find yourself in the recovery room. The good news is that if you have done everything you can before and after surgery, your recovery time should not be very long. Here are some tips for before and after your surgery to help minimize the amount of downtime you’ll need.
What you do before your surgery can have a significant impact on how you feel afterwards, both physically and mentally.
- Educate yourself. No one is as invested in the outcome of your surgery as you are. Work to learn as much as you can about your condition, the procedure you’re having, and the expected results. Ask your back surgery doctor any questions you may have, and make sure that you understand the answers.
- Get plenty of physical activity before surgery. In the days and weeks leading up to your procedure, don’t let yourself become less physically active. Exercise can help your recovery period in a couple of different ways. First, it can help you maintain a healthy weight, which will speed your recovery. Secondly, being physically active will reduce your chances of developing a blood clot or circulation issues that may affect your surgery or recovery. Being armed with knowledge will help you go into your surgery feeling confident and relaxed.
- Avoid certain medications. Be sure to discuss all medications you take with your back surgery doctor. Certain drugs such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which include aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen, can thin your blood and elevate your risk, so you should discontinue their use a week before your procedure. Some other drugs can also have detrimental effects, so do tell your surgeon about every medication you take, both prescription and over-the-counter.
- Don’t expect surgery to fix all your problems. Back surgery can make a huge difference in your pain levels and your ability to complete your everyday activities. However, it isn’t a cure-all. It’s vital for you to view your overall health through a wider lens, one that includes lifestyle choices such as maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, and avoiding tobacco and excessive alcohol – all actions that can improve your odds of making a full recovery.
Whether this is your first back surgery or your fifth, what you do after your surgery matters. Try these tips for making your back surgery recovery as quick and easy as possible.
- Listen to your body. Your body goes through a lot during back surgery; it’s often compared to the trauma of being in a severe car crash. Besides the shock to your bones, muscles, tendons, and skin, you’re also recovering from several hours of anesthesia, which can take much longer to leave your system than your surgery lasted. When you feel tired, lie down and rest. Pushing yourself too hard will only draw out your recovery process.
- Stay one step ahead of your pain. If you wait until you’re in pain to take your medication, it will take longer to relieve it. Since pain can and will affect every aspect of your life, it’s best to eliminate as much of it as possible by taking pain meds on a regular schedule, even before you need them. If you are concerned about addiction but have no history of abusing opioids, don’t worry – you are unlikely to experience problems by using these drugs for a limited period.
- Take advantage of offers of help. Rely on others any chance you get. In fact, enlist help before your surgery so that you know you’ll have a network of support to assist you as you get better. You may not be able to drive for several weeks, and you may need someone at home with you to help with activities such as showering, dressing, cooking, and so on. Knowing someone is there to help will calm your anxiety, so don’t hesitate to let people know what you need.
Dr Vivek P. Kushwawa, M.D. treats a wide range of back pain conditions and injuries including arthritis, cysts, degenerative disc disease, fractures, herniated discs, osteoporosis, kyphosis, scoliosis, spinal stenosis, and traumatic injuries. If you are experiencing chronic or acute back pain and think that back surgery in Houston may be right for you, contact Dr Kushwawa to learn more.