Spine surgery techniques have improved significantly in the past few decades. Where there used to be quite a bit of fear surrounding the idea of having back surgery, patients feel much more confident today. Many of the surgical procedures that are performed to resolve acute or chronic back pain are minimally invasive. Procedure times have shortened, as have recovery times. Still, there are a few things that patients are encouraged to have handy as they heal from back surgery. We discuss them here.
After back surgery, patients do most of their recovering at home. In the home recovery center, it is beneficial to have:
- Ice packs. There are two ways in which ice packs are beneficial after surgery. One is that cold reduces swelling. When swelling is well-managed, the body is better supported in its healing process. Another benefit to ice packs is that cold blocks pain receptors. Therefore, ice is a wonderful complement to the prescription pain medication a patient may take after surgery.
- Water bottles. Hydration is a vital aspect to post-surgical recovery. Drinking plenty of water does two things for a patient recovering from back surgery. First, it helps to prevent or manage the constipation that may occur from pain medications. Second, hydration is a critical aspect of blood flow, and blood flow is a critical aspect of tissue healing. Drinking at least 64 ounces of water a day supports optimum recovery.
- Laxatives or stool softener medication. We’ve mentioned it twice, which should come as no surprise. Most people who have had surgery or know someone who has knows that the medications taken for pain management are notorious for causing constipation. Surgery itself may cause the digestive system to slow down for a few days. To avoid discomfort and frustration, patients may be advised to start a low dose of laxative medication right away after surgery.
- It is a matter of fact that most people who undergo surgery will experience some emotional highs and lows. This can be mitigated somewhat by ensuring there are not hours upon hours of idle time. Patients recovering from surgery are encouraged to assemble multiple forms of entertainment. Relying on just one form, no matter how enjoyable it typically is, can quickly become a problem.
Spinal surgery is always the last treatment option considered for back pain. When necessary, surgery can result in a vast improvement in comfort and mobility. To learn more about spinal procedures, contact our NYC office at 212-606-1004.