Back surgery is a significant step towards improving a patient’s health, but their journey doesn’t end with surgery. After the operation, there’s still a lot for a patient to do to ensure the effectiveness of the treatment.
If you’re expecting to undergo surgery, read on to find out what your surgeon will tell you to expect.
You May Need To Stay In The Hospital
Before the patient transfers to their room, they will first stay in a recovery unit and be under observation for a few hours. Medical staff will be on hand to monitor their vitals and ensure that the procedure won’t have any immediate health concerns.
A medical team will be on standby and observe you for your blood pressure, heart and respiratory rate, oxygen saturation, level of consciousness, level of pain, and temperature. There are also physical observations they will use to determine changes such as your skin tone, swallow reflex drain, catheter output, and more.
The medical team will also likely ask you to use a spirometer after the surgery. A spirometer checks how well your lungs are functioning. This test will ensure that your airways suffered no damage during the surgery.
What constitutes as “normal” vital signs will differ per person. If your medical team is satisfied that you’re not in any immediate danger, you will be transferred to your room if you need to rest more. Otherwise, you will be discharged.
Handling Post-Surgical Complications
Surgery is stressful on your body, and most patients experience pain, drowsiness, and stiffness after an operation. The duration of discomfort and other various complications you might experience will depend on the type of surgery and your overall health.
To handle any post-surgical complications, it’s always best to inform your doctor of any unusual feelings you have immediately. These complications include:
- Extreme pain
- Difficulty breathing
- Excessive bleeding
Your spine surgeon will tell you to keep in contact and talk to them as soon as any problems arise.
As with any other treatment post-surgery, back surgery will require you to take pain medication as prescribed by your doctor. This medicine will help relieve the pain and discomfort you experience.
It typically takes two months to a year for a patient to recover from surgery. In some cases, it may take longer. It’s also vital that you not strain your body while undergoing recovery and rehabilitation. Until your doctor approves, it’s best to avoid any activities that strain your back. Avoid heavy lifting and rapid movements.
However, this doesn’t mean that you should stay idle while recovering. To help speed up your recovery, your spine surgeon will likely tell you to undergo physical therapy and take medication. Studies show that mild exercise, light stretching, and short walks can help a patient recover from surgery more quickly.
Physical therapy will likely be your best option for postoperative recovery. Physical therapy plans use medically-approved methods to restore your strength, mobility, and functionality. Your therapist will personalize your therapy plan to reach your physical fitness goals quickly and safely.
What To Do At Home
It may take some time before you can return to regular activity. Until you recover, you may have to make some adjustments where you live. Postoperative care will continue even after you leave the hospital, so you should create your own system for your at-home recovery. You may want to consult your doctor for some best practices.
At-home recovery means moving some things around your house that will make your limited movements comfortable. Your recovery will mean that you’ll have restricted movements for a while. It will help to ensure that the things you need will be within easy reach and that you won’t be exerting too much effort into acquiring them. Having someone to assist you is also helpful, because you will be experiencing discomfort, and it will be difficult for you to do things.
Getting uninterrupted sleep and rest will significantly help in your whole healing process. However, it is best to sleep on your side to keep your spine aligned. Sleeping on your back may misalign your vertebra and damage the surgery site. Some doctors might suggest that you have an orthopedic pillow to help maintain your spine health while you sleep.
Spine Surgery Treatments in Colorado Springs
If you have chronic neck and back discomfort or inquiries about the treatments and services we have available, visit Front Range Spine and Neurosurgery.
We take pride in our facilities all over Colorado and the comprehensive healthcare we offer. Call us today at (303) 790-1800, or you may also book an appointment with us by filling out our online application form. You can expect a response within 48 hours.