Post Operative Tips From a Back Doctor

Post-Operative Tips From a Back Doctor

Our back doctors at Elite Sports Medicine are passionate about providing excellent patient care both before and after surgery. Back surgery is a big deal, and there are many things to keep in mind before going into surgery.

Do Your Research

If you are reading this blog, you are already on the right track! Researching beforehand can help prepare you for what is to come- the most important part of the preop process. Before going into your pre-op appointment with your orthopedic spine surgeon, make sure to come prepared with all the questions you have.

Questions to Ask Your Back Doctor

  1. How Long Will I Need to Take Off Work?
  1. When Will I Start Physical Therapy?
  2. At What Point Should I Call You if I Have Difficulties?
  3. Is Pain Medication Safe for me to Take?

Know When to Ask for Help

It can be hard to ask for help when you are feeling vulnerable. Preparing your support system before surgery will help set expectations and avoid confusion. If you have chores that need to be done while you are recovering from surgery, go ahead and have those responsibilities distributed. If you are struggling to get around, always ask for help. Preventing a fall is the top priority after surgery.

Rest, But Not Too Much

It is certainly important to rest after surgery, but lack of movement can result in stiffness. Stiffness causes even more pain, therefore trying to move around when you are feeling up to it can help prevent pain. Make sure to not bend, twist, or pick up anything over 5 pounds. Walk in a straight line with your helps square.

Wound Care

Follow all wound care protocols as given by your back doctor. Showering after surgery should be accompanied by your caregiver. Only shower when necessary and listen to the instructions given by your medical team.

Take Your Pain Pills

Taking your pain pills at the right time makes all the difference in your post-operative pain. You have heard the phrase “get ahead of the pain.” This is accurate and should be followed closely. The earlier you take them the better you will feel. If you have any concerns at all about pain medication, talk with your doctor to find the best pain management plan for you.

Focus On Your Mental Health

Your main focus is getting your body back to its normal state, but taking some time to focus on your mental health makes all the difference in your journey through recovery. Stress causes inflammation in the body, something you definitely want to avoid after surgery. If you are not able to get outside, open your blinds to let some sun in and meditate daily if possible. Other ways to focus on mental health could be thinking of 3 new things you are grateful for every day!

Healthy Diet

An unhealthy diet can also cause inflammation in the body. Avoid fast food, high sugar or carby and processed foods. Eating leafy greens, higher protein, and healthy fats is a great way to support your immune system and mental health. We recommend following a Mediterranean diet after surgery to reduce inflammation.

Have Your Meals Pre-Prepped

Having some frozen foods (like a casserole or soup) ready for post-surgery can be a huge time-saving tool. This gives you a healthy meal ready to go and all you have to do is heat it up!

Do Your Physical Therapy

The number one most important thing in recovery is doing your physical therapy. Physical therapy after spine surgery can be painful, but it is all for your benefit. Our doctors are huge supporters of physical therapy, and our on-sight physical therapists are amazing resources for your post-operative journey.

Cassie Whittaker Cassie is the Communications Coordinator for Elite Sports Medicine + Orthopedics. She has been writing and reviewing medical content since 2020.

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