Recovering from Back Surgery

Jun 08, 2023
Recovering from Back Surgery
Are you facing back surgery to repair a serious condition or injury? While no two people recover in exactly the same way, we’ve put together general tips for a smoother recovery and avoiding post-surgical complications. 

If you’re facing back surgery, chances are you’re already thinking ahead to your recovery. No two recovery periods are exactly the same — even when patients undergo the same type of surgery. 

At the Center for Minimally Invasive Neurosurgery, board-certified and fellowship-trained neurosurgeon Praveen Reddy, MD, MCh., and our care team turn to surgery only as a last resort, when other treatments don’t provide you relief. 

Our practice specializes in minimally invasive surgical procedures, like the Mazor™ robotic-assisted system and techniques or endoscopic procedures for conditions like spinal decompression or removing damaged discs. 

The specific details of your condition and surgery help determine your recovery journey. But we’ve put together this guide outlining what anyone recuperating from back surgery can do to support their recovery. 

These insights and recommendations are a starting point, meant to provide you with general guidance. Dr. Reddy and your surgical team provide personalized information about recovering from your specific surgery. 

Follow all post-op instructions

We have years of experience and extensive knowledge about back surgery. We provide you with detailed post-op guidelines and instructions to support your recovery and long-term health. 

As such, the most important step for a successful recovery is to follow these instructions carefully. Dr. Reddy and our team give you information about surgical site care, pain management, activity restrictions or physical precautions, and physical therapy. 

Following these instructions ensures an optimal recovery and helps you avoid complications.

Use your support network

Undergoing surgery can be physically, emotionally, and mentally challenging. Reach out to your family, friends, and health care providers to let them know about your procedure and to ask for help before your surgery. 

Family and friends can help with household chores, feeding pets, grocery shopping, and light house cleaning. And talk openly to your health care providers about any emotional or mental challenges you face. 

Feeling connected and supported as you recuperate after back surgery helps ensure your needs are met and allows you to focus on the hard work of recovery.

Stay ahead of pain and discomfort

It’s normal to have some discomfort and pain after back surgery. Most patients receive pain medications for use immediately after surgery, but you don’t want to become reliant on pain medicine. 

To avoid this, stay ahead of your pain and discomfort by taking prescribed or recommended medications on schedule as prescribed while using complementary pain control tools, including:

  • Ice or heat
  • Compression or braces
  • Relaxation methods (e.g., meditation, deep breathing)
  • Physical therapy

Contact Dr. Reddy if you experience any side effects or need help managing your pain level. Our team can make adjustments to your post-op treatment plan as needed.

Take it slow

Once you start to feel better, you may be tempted to rush back to your normal activities. Don’t rush it. For a full recovery, take it slow

We recommend activities, stretches, and/or exercises to help you recover safely. By taking it slow and gradually increasing your activity as we’ve outlined, you can avoid setbacks that might prolong your recovery.  

In the initial stages of your recovery, focus on gentle activities that help you rebuild strength, flexibility, and mobility. Over time and as your body heals, we give you the green light for gradually increasing the intensity and duration. 

Focus on overall health

Your back doesn’t exist in isolation from the rest of your body. As such, focusing on ways that   positively affect your overall health can significantly improve your recovery after back surgery. 

Boost your overall health by opting for a balanced diet centered around whole foods, like fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. This is especially important if you’re overweight, as a healthy diet can help you shed extra weight, easing stress on your back. 

Drink plenty of water and avoid sugary beverages and alcohol, which can slow healing. And make sleep a top priority, aiming for 7-9 hours of rest each night. 

If you smoke, talk to a health care provider for help quitting tobacco. Smoking slows blood circulation and increases your risk of post-surgery complications. 

For more information or personalized tips on recovering after back surgery, schedule an appointment with Dr. Reddy through his website or over the phone today. We’re located in Conroe, The Woodlands, Willis, and the Willowbrook section of Houston, Texas.

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