10 Tips for Recovering at Home After Outpatient Spine Surgery

January 18, 2023

Regardless of your age, physique, or health status at the time of spine surgery, the next essential thing to consider when you’re out of the hospital is recovery. Recovery includes allowing your spine to heal properly, eating healthy, and getting enough sleep. It also consists of following all the activities your surgeon instructs and carefully following the steps to make your recovery smoother.  However, because back surgery recovery and healing can be complex, professionals like Dr. Juris Shibayama about outpatient spine surgery advise the following tips to recover and heal at home after outpatient back surgery:

Embracing Spinal Care

Unlike other healing and recovery strategies, spinal care quickens your spine surgery healing and recovery by reducing pain and helping you gain strength. It also increases flexibility through exercises and other healing and recovery modalities.  When attending and performing your spinal care sessions, maintain your normal spinal curves by sitting rightly to minimize stress, especially from slouching and sliding down from a sitting position.

To avoid slouching and sliding, sit with your hips, shoulders, and ears aligned. Take short walks often and gradually by increasing your walking distances to build strength for recovery and healing, especially by boosting blood circulation to spinal tissues and organs. Walks also help maintain muscle tone.  Additionally, avoid activities requiring twisting and bending or lifting heavy content of more than 5 pounds.

Carefully Manage Pain

Pain after surgery slows your recovery and healing by affecting your mood, sleep, and ability to move around and think correctly. Improperly managed pain lengthens the normal time expected for your spine surgery recovery, especially by causing postoperative infections resulting from surgical wounds.  When this happens, you’ll experience swelling, spreading redness and steaks, and sometimes pus from wounds. Still, improperly managed pain causes urinary tract infections and pneumonia because your spinal tissues and organs will struggle to properly function and receive blood or nutrients. Take your prescribed pain meds as directed by your surgeon and call in refills immediately medication reduces. 

Moreover, avoid taking more pain meds regardless of the severity of pain you experience. Call your surgeon in the event of unexplained pain after taking your pain meds. Other than pain medication, other ways you can manage pain include moist heating, especially not directly to unhealed incisions, gentle exercises, massage, rest, and frequent repositioning.

Healthy Eating

Healthy eating is a key component of your back surgery recovery and healing for good reasons. It nourishes your body by preventing surgery-related stress and boosts incision healing. Food also provides raw materials for your immune system needed to protect your body against infection. Additionally, proteins reduce inflammation while energy-giving foods help repair your back skin, support blood vessels, muscles, bones, and nerves, thus increasing the strength for the back’s normal functionality. Therefore, establish a healthy eating habit inclusive of low-fats, fresh vegetables, and fruits. Avoid high-calorie and fattening foods and watch your weight based on the foods you consume.

Bath Properly and Care For Your Incisions

Bathing cleans your skin and removes dead skin cells, cleaning pores and allowing skin cells to function properly. Proper bathing after your back surgery helps wash away irritants and bacteria that could cause rashes and skin infections. Bathing properly means watching out for the water from getting into wounds but ensuring areas adjust to wounds are clean to avoid infections. Care for your incisions and stitches by air drying them or patting them with dry clean, or fresh towels. Also, avoid tub baths until incisions completely heal.

Lay in Bed Correctly

Enough and good sleep makes healing and recovery easy. Using a hospital bed with residential design can be very helpful in providing a greater sense of comfort, safety, and sleep quality. Follow the best sleep position after back surgery to effortlessly recover and avoid complications. When laying on your back, bend your knees and keep your legs together. Roll onto sides and keep your hips and shoulders in line and turn simultaneously to avoid your spine from twisting. At the same time, when waking up, use your arms by starting with the top arm and bending your left leg over the side of the bed to sit properly.

Watch Your Sitting Positions

Improper sitting puts stress on your back and increases pain. Avoid sitting with your knees higher than your hips. Use pillows and wedges when inside your car or sofa. When getting up from a seat, move your hips gently to the end of the seat and use your arms to push yourself up. Also, get a raised toilet seat, especially one that fits your current toilet with arms, to assist yourself when getting off the toilet.

Get Postoperative Bracing

Post-Operative bracing after your back surgery is essential in stabilizing affected areas. It also reduces pain by restricting movements and immobilizes your spine for healing and recovery.

Seek Help Consistently 

Because you’re recovering from home, chores can be overwhelming. Seek help from family and friends, especially for essential consideration, including physical therapy. Find help for laundry and grocery shopping to avoid bending and twisting your spine. Seek help when drying off your incisions and bathing, considering wetting wounds causes infections.

Embrace Physical Therapy

Physical therapy helps you regain mobility and recovery faster. It also boosts repair and replacements made to organs and tissues during the surgery.  Additionally, physical therapy reduces pains and helps avoid medications with negative effects such as opioids. Still, therapy increases flexibility, strength, and physical endurance, increasing your body’s general functionality, thus fastening healing and recovery.

Call Your Surgeon in Case of Complications

Because the surgeon who performs your back surgery knows your spinal system better than others, calling them during complications helps quicken your recovery and healing. Anytime you experience unexplained fever, chills, persistent drainage from incisions and night sweats, ask your surgeon for recommendation and help. Also, call for help if you experience chest pain, shortness of breath, calf pain, loss of bowel and bladder function, or opening of incisions.

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