Life After Spine Surgery

Jul 09, 2022

Back pain can be extremely uncomfortable for anyone at any age. Routine activities like walking, standing, sleeping, and sitting feel like strenuous tasks for someone with back pain. If such a situation is due to a spinal injury like a slipped disc or a damaged vertebra, it leaves the patient with no choice but to undergo surgical treatments for pain relief. Patients expect to get normal and have their painless lives back after a spinal surgery however, getting surgical treatment is just a first step to complete rehabilitation from back pain. The quality of life after spine surgery depends a lot on how you approach the recovery process. In what follows, we will discuss what to expect and how you can sustain the quality of life after spine surgery.

You might also want to read: Road to Recovery from Spinal Fusion Surgery

Lifestyle Changes

The lifestyle change after spine surgery is not difficult, but it does require some adjustments. Changing the way you do routine tasks is the cornerstone of the recovery process.

Modifying Routine Activities

  • The first thing that you need to do is learn how to walk again. If this is difficult for you, try using a walker or wheelchair until you get more used to walking on your own feet again. This will help speed up the process of regaining normal strength and mobility in your spine as well as improving your overall health and well-being. It will also improve your self-esteem because having control over one's own body means much more than just being able to walk again.
  • It is recommended to use support equipment for getting in and out of bed. These pieces of equipment will keep you safe from injuries by transferring any extra stress on your spine. Using ergonomic furniture is also a good idea to keep your spine straight.

Related readings: Home Remedies for Lower Back Pain 

Eating Habits 

  • Getting a balanced diet can have a great impact on the rate of recovery after spine surgery. Eating nutritious food is extremely important as it will supply the body with all the essentials required for healing quickly as well as allow you to maintain a healthy weight. Having small meals 5 to 6 times a day instead of eating three big meals is also a good practice as it eases the digestion process. 
  • Smoking and using alcohol can be a bad idea as they impede the healing process.
  • Keep yourself hydrated by increasing your water intake. Drinking water not only helps with overall nutrition but also reduces the risk of constipation.

Keeping a Positive Attitude

The importance of keeping a positive attitude during recovery after spine surgery is often overlooked. Many patients view the process as one that will take months, or even years, to recover from. The reality is that most individuals can return to their normal day-to-day activities in only a few weeks.

If you want to stay active throughout your recovery period and keep yourself busy, then try some of these activities:

  • Spending time with family & friends - This is a great way to divert one’s mind from an ailment. Talking to family and friends boosts morale and makes you feel that you are not alone.
  • Go out and meet new people - Socializing is also an effective way to be more confident in life. When you meet new people, you learn from them and it helps you broaden your perspective on life. Try to join rehabilitation communities where you can meet people who are going through the same problems as you.

Post-surgery Risk Factors

Like any other surgery, spinal surgery also poses some risk factors that can make the recovery process uncomfortable. Following are some of the common and major risk factors that can occur after you have undergone spine surgery.

  1. Adjacent Segment Syndrome

The spine works in quite an interesting way in which all the spinal discs come together to support body movement. For a spine to function best, the whole spine must be healthy. If a part of the spine is weaker or not functioning properly, the neighboring parts bear more stress and thus become more prone to injuries. This is what happens after you undergo a back surgery like spinal fusion. It puts extra stress on the parts near the area where surgery was performed. You can avoid it from happening by following these guidelines; 

  • Give the required time to your wounds for healing.
  • Ask your doctor how long you should be on bed rest.
  • Seek the doctor’s approval before engaging in physical activities like walking and sitting.
  1. Infection at Surgical Site

Developing an infection at the incision site is one of the most common complications after spine surgery. This can occur because of several factors, including:

  • Infection due to a foreign object left in your incision by the surgeon. 
  • Infection due to bacteria that have entered through open surgical wounds 
  • Infection due to contamination from your body fluids
  1. Failed Back Surgery Syndrome

One of the most common complaints by the patients is experiencing persistent back pain after spine surgery. A normal and short-term pain after surgery is expected and is quite normal. It can be managed using medications and therapies. However, if the patient experiences persistent chronic back pain even a month after the surgery, it can be a sign of an unsuccessful surgical procedure and leads to a condition known as failed back syndrome. This is where one should seek expert medical advice immediately. 

Get the Best Spine Treatment in Los Angeles

If you are in Los Angeles and looking for an experienced neurosurgeon for spinal treatment, you can visit us at Southern California Brain & Spine surgery. Here, Dr. Moksha Ranasinghe provides top-quality treatment to patients suffering from brain and spine diseases. The team at our medical facility provides undivided attention to the patients and makes the treatment as well as recovery extremely comfortable. You can call us at  (213) 369-4583 or fill out the contact form to schedule an appointment.

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