Six Ways To Ease Into Recovery After Spinal Surgery

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If you have recently undergone spinal surgery or you anticipate having a procedure such as lumbar spinal fusion, it's a good idea to make preparations for your post-surgery recovery. There are several things you can do to facilitate healing and prevent complications. You probably know not to lift heavy objects during your recovery process, bend at the waist or grasp hard-to-reach objects, but there are other measures you should take as well. To help you on the road to recovery, follow these six guidelines after your back surgery:

1. Use a Grasping Tool for Grabbing Hard-to-Reach Objects

Sometimes referred to as a hand grabbing tool or pick-up tool, this handy device extends to help you reach that item on a high shelf or those that are low to the floor. The hand grabber will often feature a pistol grip and rotating pincer-style grabbers that are enforced with a rubberized "jaw" to assist you. The tool typically extends with a telescoping handle. By using such a tool, you'll avoid bending at the waist and straining your back.

2. Support Your Back and Spine While Sitting or Riding in the Car

It's a good idea to purchase a few lumbar support pillows or backrests for use after your spinal surgery. Place one on your favorite chair and use a separate one for riding in the car. These cushions are sometimes made with memory foam for lumbar support and comfort. It will help you maintain good posture and may prevent you from straining your back after surgery.

3. Follow Up Your Post-Surgery Rehab at Home

Your physician may prescribe physical therapy after your spinal surgery. The sessions often involve a series of back exercises, heat or cold applications, gentle stretching or a combination of all of the above. Follow the physical therapist's instructions, because in most cases you will be told to follow up with these methods at home. Doing so may help you recover fast and gain mobility and flexibility after your spinal surgery.

4. Eat Healthy, Fiber-Rich Foods to Avoid Constipation

It is not uncommon to experience temporary constipation after major spinal surgery. This is often a common side effect of pain medications. Constipation may cause straining, and this is something you want to avoid after your surgery.

To avoid this issue, refrain from consuming processed foods and sugar in your diet. Instead, opt for plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as whole grains. If you still experience constipation, ask your doctor about the use of fiber supplements or laxatives.

5. Be Safe In the Bathroom

During your post-operative recovery, you might want to take showers instead of baths. Getting in and out of the bathtub for a sit-down bath could place strain on your lower back, and it may increase the possibility of a fall. Keep in mind, even when taking a shower it's a good idea to have a grab bar installed for safety and ease.

If you do prefer to sit while bathing, consider the use of a transfer bench or bath chair. Choose a bath or shower chair with rubberized feet, armrests and back support. You might want to check the weight capacity on the chair as well.

To assist you with getting on and off the toilet, consider installing a toilet seat riser. This device installs easily on any standard toilet seat and offers the elevation you may need to avoid straining your lower back while you sit down or get up. It may be helpful to choose a riser equipped with armrests.

6. Choose Easy-to-Wear, Comfortable Clothing

During your recovery from back surgery, you'll need to wear loose fitting, comfortable clothes that are easy to slip into and remove. In addition, loose clothing will be less irritating to the surgery site. Avoid lace-up shoes, as these may require you to bend. Instead, choose slip on shoes and wear slippers around the house.

As a rule, always follow your doctor's post-operative care instructions. If you experience unusual symptoms or side effects from medications after your spinal surgery, consult with your doctor at once. For more information about preparing for this kind of surgery, contact a clinic like Highlands Neurosurgery, P.C.