If you have a back surgery scheduled soon it is important to prepare ahead of time. Preparing in advance can help you control and speed up your recovery after the procedure. Once you get home from the spine surgery center, you need to focus on important aspects of your recovery. This may include eating healthy foods, getting enough rest, and many others.
Below are 7 post-surgery tips that can help you recover faster after back surgery.
1. Healthy diet
If you want to speed up your recovery after back surgery, it is important to fill your diet with the right foods. You need to eliminate from your diet processed foods, sugary foods, and other products that can trigger inflammation or inhibit the body’s healing properties. Instead, include more high-protein and whole foods in your diet.
Because after the surgery your muscles are most-likely damaged, your body requires a lot of protein to repair them. Whole grains provide rich amounts of nutrients that help support your immune system and fight inflammation. Eating fresh fruits and vegetables is just as important. These foods are a rich source of antioxidants and vitamins that aid in recovery after surgery.
If you cannot shop or cook meals by yourself, use a grocery delivery service that will do the shopping for you. You may also order prepared kits of healthy foods to your door. If you aren’t fond of delivered foods, prepare healthy meals in advance and freeze them in the fridge.
2. Proper body hydration
It is crucial to stay hydrated in the post-surgery period. This helps avoid potential surgery complications like vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, and bowel issues (constipation). Proper hydration supports your immune system that is often weakened after surgery. This helps keep infections at bay and speed up the recovery process. Water also helps your body remove toxins that remain in the body after anesthesia.
You need to opt for several bottles of water in advance and deliver them at home. To calculate the amount of water you need to drink every day take your body weight in pounds and divide that number by two. The number you get is an approximate amount of ounces of water you should drink each day.
3. Pain management
Before being sent home after surgery, your doctor will prescribe you pain medications. You need to get detailed instructions from your doctor to manage pain effectively. Taking pain medications can help you make the recovery process faster and reduce discomfort. Because after surgery you may feel foggy, consider a pill organizer to make sure you take all prescription drugs in time. This can help prevent gaps in your pain management.
In addition to pain medications, you can use home remedies to help yourself recover faster. Heat and ice therapy is an effective way to relieve post-surgery pain. Heat compresses help relax muscles, improve blood flow, and improve healing. Cold compresses inhibits inflammation and relieves pain in the surgery site. Limit the application of the compresses to 15 minutes and take breaks between them for at least 2 hours.
4. Take care of the details
After back surgery, you may have difficulty doing certain routine tasks like bathing, going to the toilet, cooking, or walking. To ensure your comfort after surgery, you need to take care of these small things in advance. If you have difficulty walking, get a walker and grabber devices. Walker supports you when you walk and prevent falls. Grabber allows you to reach items without bending or twisting.
Another device that can increase your comfort significantly is a toilet riser. This is a rounded piece of plastic that fits on the toilet seat and rises it. This makes it more comfortable and easier for you to get on and off the toilet.
Because you will be required to lie most of the time after surgery, prepare for yourself a comfortable bed, pillows, and pajamas. In addition to traditional pillows, you can buy a body pillow that helps improve your sleeping position. Pajama made of silk or other smooth material can make it easier for you to slide in and out of bed.
Before the surgery, install a small fridge around your bed. This allows you to eat snacks, drinks, and even some medications around the bed so you don’t need to get up every time you need to eat or take medications. Resting your spine is crucial to speed up recovery.
5. Prepare entertainments in advance
After back surgery, you will need to spend a lot of time lying on the bed. It can be very boring and worsen your mood significantly. However, you need to stay positive to speed up post-surgical recovery.
Before the surgery, fill your room with things that can entertain you, such as video games, books, movies, magazines, crosswords, or music. You can buy streaming services subscriptions and enjoy your favorite movies on the TV, laptop, or smartphone.
6. Ask for a help
If you live alone, it can be hard for you to deal with all home duties alone, especially if you have a pet. Ask your family members or friends to stay with you for the next few days after the surgery. If they cannot stay with you in the house, make sure to have people who can regularly come to check you. It is important to have someone who can help you with cleaning your house during the first few days.
Ask your friend to drive you to your appointments or consider using a ride-sharing service. Don’t try to drive on your own, especially if you are on pain medications. If you have a dog or other pet, ask your friend to take care of it until you recover. Being with your favorite dog can be beneficial for your overall well-being, but it will be hard for you to take care of your pet alone.
7. Physical therapy
While immediately after surgery you may need to rest more to recover, it is important that you later include physical therapy into your routine. Depending on the type of surgery, your doctor may even recommend physical therapy as early as the day following surgery. Physical therapy can help you regain strength, flexibility, and physical endurance.
The physical therapist along with the spine surgeon can prepare a set of home exercises. It is important to get detailed pictures and written instructions on how to safely perform each movement. After a full recovery after the surgery, the doctor can adjust the program to help you continue to progress.