Patients who prepare for their post-surgical rehabilitation, or at the very least, embrace the changes needed for optimal healing, will lessen their post-procedural pain and enhance their function. While Dr. Mark Giovanini of NeuroMicroSpine will go over aftercare instructions with you before your procedure, we thought it would be best to mention a few quick tips. If you have questions or concerns regarding your post-procedural care, be sure to address them with Dr. Giovanini ahead of time. He understands surgery can be an overwhelming experience, which is why he's made it his mission to work with patients every step of the way. His attention to detail and dedication to patients will help you feel at ease before, during, and after your procedure, which can also improve your post-operative healing.
Below are a few quick and easy “dos” and “don’ts” to keep in mind for proper healing.
- Take your prescribed amount of pain medication to reduce your risk of dependency or over-dosage. If you’re experiencing pain that cannot be sufficiently managed with the amount of medication you’ve been prescribed, call NeuroMicroSpine to schedule an appointment with Dr. Mark Giovanini. He will work with you to ensure you’re not writhing in pain. Make sure you take your medication(s) in the intervals he has set up for you - some medications need to be taken at the same time each day, and within several hours of each other (ex: one pill every 8 hours or 12 hours).
- Wear a brace, if needed, to stabilize your back as you move. This will ensure your spine heals correctly. Dr. Giovanini may have recommendations regarding which brand and style brace will be best for you. He also has access to companies that make custom orthotics and braces, so if your particular case requires a custom-made piece, do not worry about finding the right company - Dr. Giovanini will ensure you get the best care and product at the best price.
- Move frequently and at gentle speeds to keep your blood circulating. This will help you heal faster. Also, consider working out several weeks before your surgery. Similar to how an avid runner must train for a marathon, exercising before your surgery will help you heal faster afterward. Don't believe us? Check out this study: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4072442/.
- If Dr. Mark Giovanini tells you to do physical therapy, do it! Physical therapy is a form of rehabilitation that helps you re-learn how to move and perform certain activities to reduce your risk of injury recurrence or pain. Learn more about the benefits of physical therapy after spine surgery in our blog.
- Don’t climb stairs or bend at the waist for the first few weeks after surgery. If you must go up stairs, try to limit it to once or twice a day. As for bending at the waist, don’t do it until Dr. Giovanini clears you for it. Instead, bend your knees and squat down to pick up items. Or, an even better option is to have your loved one or caretaker help you with the task at hand. While exercise is beneficial after surgery, it's important to receive clearance from Dr. Giovanini before performing any kind of stretching or training exercise.
- Don’t lift anything over 10 pounds! This means no grocery bags, baskets full of laundry, or small children until Dr. Giovanini has cleared you for this activity. Lifting heavy objects before you're ready to do so could have serious repercussions. You could reinjure yourself, causing irreversible damage. Or, you could cause damage that leads to chronic pain after you've already healed. Basically, don't mess around with this "don't." It's a "don't" for a reason!
- Driving, smoking, and exercising are big "no-nos" for the first few weeks after surgery. Limit your time in the car, do not smoke cigarettes or use tobacco products, and limit your exercise to slow walks. The most important part of this guideline? Do NOT smoke - it is terrible for you and could lead to post-surgical complications. Smoking prevents vital tissues from healing and is reduces blood flow to the surgical site.
- Spine surgery is a big decision that could pay off handsomely in regards to relieving your chronic back pain.
- With an increase in spine surgeries among Americans, it’s imperative patients acknowledge what should and shouldn’t be done after their procedure to ensure a faster and safer recovery.
- Dr. Mark Giovanini of NeuroMicroSpine explains the dos and don’ts after spine surgery for maximum recovery.
For more information on whether spinal surgery is necessary for your condition, or to make an appointment with the doctors at NeuroMicroSpine, please call (850) 934-7545 or click here to request an appointment. We hope to see you soon!
The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace or counter a physician's advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.