Spine surgery is often viewed as the final option for treating a difficult spinal condition, but it shouldn’t be viewed as a magic solution that will rid of you all your pain. The work you put in both before and after your operation will dictate how full a recovery you have, so while surgical skill is important, the patient also plays a significant role in their rehab. You’re going to need to work hard after surgery, but many patients aren’t aware of how important preoperative management is to your post-op success. Below, we take a closer look at some things you should be doing before surgery that will help make your recovery after surgery a lot easier.
Here’s a look at a number of things you should consider doing in the days and weeks leading up to your back operation to help get your recovery off on the right foot. Keep in mind, these are general tips, and you may be best served to get individualized advice from your treating physician.
Weight Management – We don’t expect you to lose 30 pounds the month before surgery, but even a little bit of weight loss goes a long way when it comes to your spine health. Your spine helps disperse and handle the stress imposed by your body weight, and shedding a few pounds can take a lot of stress off your spine. Working towards a healthy or healthier body weight ahead of your operation will only serve to make your rehab easier.
Diet and Water Intake – Along a similar vein, really take a look at what you’re putting in your body leading up to surgery. Even before you get to the point where you need to follow food and liquid restrictions, be sure you’re pumping your body full of vitamins, nutrients and minerals. These can help promote healthy tissue growth and will be beneficial both before and after surgery. It’s also easier to abide by the first tip if you’re minding your diet and water intake before surgery.
Prehab – Odds are you’re going to partake in physical therapy after surgery, so it’s a good idea to get a jump start on it before you go under the knife. Not only will this help strengthen areas of your body that you’ll be targeting after surgery, but it will also help foster a physical activity routine. If you’re already in the habit of doing your daily exercises, it will be easier to follow through with them once your surgery is complete.
Stay Active – We know that your back problem is probably causing you a decent amount of discomfort, but it’s important that you don’t just lay in bed and wait for your surgery date to arrive. Try to stay active, because this will improve muscle function, push healthy blood to crucial structures and prevent tissue atrophy. Be mindful to listen to your body and avoid overdoing it, but activity is better than inactivity as your surgery date draws nearer.
If you keep these tips in mind and heed your doctor’s instructions, we’re confident you’ll put yourself in the best position to thrive after spine surgery. For more information, or for help with your spinal condition, reach out to Dr. Chang and his experienced staff today.