What to Expect After Spine Surgery

You may be overwhelmed by the prospect of recovering from spine surgery. You have been anticipating your surgery for quite some time and through consultations with your spine surgeon in Johnstown, you know that you likely won’t be completely back to normal right away.

If you’re intimidated by the spine surgery recovery process, know that you’re not alone. Like anything, it’s best to take it one day at a time and educate yourself as much as possible. In this article, we will go over what you can expect after spine surgery, and how you can best take care of yourself to recover well.

Listen to Your Spine Surgeon

What exactly you will and will not be advised to do will be dependent on your specific surgery, but regardless of specific instructions, the first and most important rule of recovery is to listen to your surgeon’s advice. If your spine surgeon tells you not to exercise for three weeks, do not exercise for three weeks, even if you feel fine. Pushing yourself too far will only set you back in your recovery.

Take recovery step by step. Prioritize rest. Each day, you should feel slightly better. Small increases in energy and activity are a good sign but don’t take them as a cue to immediately start getting back to your normal routine.

Every Recovery Is Unique

Recovery is not going to be the same for everyone, particularly for those who received different types of spine surgery. While a patient who is relatively young and healthy may be able to bounce back with relative ease, other individuals, such as people who are smokers or live a sedentary lifestyle, may need to take more time to rest before they return to their regularly scheduled programming. Don’t push yourself for your recovery to look a certain way.

The most important thing is to maintain a healthy attitude. People with positive dispositions have an easier time recovering from surgery. In addition, eating a healthy diet and giving yourself plenty of rest will go a long way towards helping you recover.

Recovery is Mental and Emotional, Too

While most people are prepared to spend time recovering physically, many do not consider the mental or emotional ramifications of surgery. It’s normal for people to feel depressed, anxious, moody, or angry during their recovery. Many fight the fear that their surgery didn’t really work and they went through the pain, time, and expense for nothing. This is a normal response, and it the vast majority of cases, all it will take it some time to see the positive effects of surgery.

As hard as it may be, trying to stay optimistic during recovery is important. A positive attitude will be one of the most powerful tools for you during this time. Try celebrating small milestones, and keep your eye towards the future. The pain is temporary, and you have a lot to look forward to.

Post-Surgical Pain

Unfortunately, pain after spine surgery is quite common. You may feel achiness due to inflammation, or you may experience uncomfortable muscle spasms. You might also feel discomfort around the incision, and if you used a bone graft, you may experience hip pain. All of these are normal and temporary. Your discomfort should decrease each day.

In addition, your doctor will prescribe you pain medication to address these symptoms (learn about pain medication safety in our previous article). As your pain decreases over time, you will require less medication to get through the day. There are other pain relief methods, such as heat, massage, light stretching and exercise, and short periods of rest, that can help supplement your pain medication as well.

Ask for Help

None of us can do everything alone. When recovering from spine surgery, it’s time to lean on your friends and family for assistance, even if you’re the strong, independent type. Make a list of chores that will be challenging for you during this time, and ask for help from your visitors. Some tasks that may present challenges include taking out the trash, doing the dishes, washing clothes, and grocery shopping.

As the leading spine surgeon in Johnstown, we understand that you may feel daunted by the recovery process, but we can help. Contact ClinTech Center for Spine Health today for further medical advice on spine surgery recovery.