What is Back Surgery and How is it done?
A back surgery is sort of a last resort for when your doctor has subjected you to various treatments to ease your back pain. But more often than not, people who undergo back surgery tend to reap a whole lot of benefits, certainly much more than just pain relief. Some benefits back surgery provides is that:
- You can move around much better than before
- You can go back to work now that you are all healed up
- You can then work on being physically fit
- You are more productive
- You don’t need to take any more pain medicine, maybe only a little as you recover
But the reason a back surgery is often used as a last resort is that it is a painstakingly long process (as with most surgeries) and has a higher degree of risk than other back pain treatments. Risks involved with back surgery include:
- herniated disc
- nerve damage
Also, people who undergo back surgery often need a lot of time to recover. But once they do recover, they are in a much better shape than they were before. Therefore, whenever undergoing back surgery it is important to wonder or look ahead on the methods on how to recover after a back surgery.
A patient who has undergone back surgery recently, it is important to take time in preparing for the post-surgical recovery period. Your doctor and the nursing staff will most probably put you on medications right after your surgery or task you with written discharge instructions. But there are some practical things that patients and families need to be aware of in terms of recovery after back surgery.
Recovery after Back Surgery: First Few Days
The pain will still persist right after getting your operation, and it is also common to feel spent when you are discharged from the hospital. It is important to shift positions frequently and not spend too much time sitting, standing or lying down. However, it is still important to take long bed rests to speed up recovery but to the couple that with short walks around the house. You can then gradually increase the frequency of your activities, but you should immediately stop if you feel an increase in pain.
Getting Help or Assistance
You should avoid lifting heavy objects right after the surgery, and if you absolutely need to do so, seek help so that you don’t lift the thing all by yourself. Patients are generally not allowed to lift anything that weighs more than 8 pounds. This also includes lifting dishes to wash them as well as cooking food, therefore it is important to have someone to assist you around the house in doing basic chores.
Continual Maintenance of the Wound Area
The site where the surgical wound has been made needs to be washed and checked at least twice a day for a careful measure. This is so that you are able to take note of any infection that might threaten to take place. Symptoms of an infection usually include: fever, chills, and pain and discharge from the site of the wound. Contact your local physician or the surgeon who operated on you at the first sign of these symptoms.
First Three Months
The back will continually heal throughout this period, and the patient can find himself feeling better gradually as he/she tries to take on more and more activities. However, the worst pain right after a surgery is usually felt four weeks after the date of the surgery itself. Pain will continue to decrease as time goes by, so it is important to take note of the pain you are feeling and view a drastic increase in it as a warning to slow down.
It is important to slowly engage yourself in physical therapy during this period. A number of activities you could do can range from slow short walks, careful stretching, and finally swimming. Contact a licensed physical therapist for the activities you will do.
Three Months and After
In this stage, as opposed to previous stages where rest was the priority, there is a bigger focus on physical therapy and exercises to speed up recovery. Contrary to what people believe that exercise might damage or aggravate pain in the vertebral disks, physical activity, as long as it is done right actually promotes healing. Of course, lifting, bending and twisting are still to be avoided as strenuous exercises.
Full recovery after back surgery will be apparent for a patient in 8 months, and the bone will continually evolve and fuse for 12 to 18 months.