Around 80 percent of people suffer from back pain at some point in their lives. At times the pain becomes chronic.
Certain conditions like bone spurs in the spine, spinal infections, an untreatable slipped disk, neural problems in the spinal region, and dislocated bones around the spine might require you to go for back surgery.
But complications due to surgery near the spine and spinal cord are many and severe too. It usually results in deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
DVT starts as a simple blood clot in the legs but could lead to clogging of lungs and even death. So, doctors mostly opt for back surgery as a choice only after trying out all other methods of treatment.
Moreover, recovery from back surgery depends on the type of operation, and it also depends on various factors like age, adherence to physiotherapy methods, etc.
One has to be extremely careful after surgery, as negligence could cause further damage to your spine.
Types of back surgery
Surgeries that involve removing all or part of your disk: It is known as a diskectomy.
Surgeries that aim to widen the gap in your backbone: it is known as a foraminotomy. It is done, so that nerve roots have more space, and function properly.
Surgery to remove the lamina bones: it is known as a laminectomy. It is done to ease off the pressure on the spinal nerves. It has a long recovery time, usually takes around 3 to 4 months. For some patients, it can even take up to a year to get back to normal life.
Spinal fusion: in this type of operation, the surgeons fuse small problem causing bones.
Once the operation is over, the hospital authorities monitor the patient’s vital signs. Then as the patient regains consciousness, they are moved from the bed to a wheelchair.
In most cases, doctors recommend physical therapy within 24 hours. Physiotherapists teach different types of motion exercises.
One needs to follow the instructions carefully so that the muscles strengthen, and you can resume walking.
One should follow proper sleep positions like keeping a pillow under your head and knees, as instructed by the therapists.
One should take care of their wounds and incisions. The patient should have safety bars or handrails in the shower/bath.
It is a must to have a physical therapy session daily. One can take pain relief medicines 45 minutes before the session.
The more you try to remain active, the quicker you can recover. At the same time, a fall can be devastating during the first year after surgery.
To know the recovery period and plan your daily activities, one should be aware of the types of back surgeries.
The first two types of surgeries require less recovery time, and one gets back to a healthy life in a few weeks. Here one may not feel pain but experience numbness in their legs.
Laminectomies need a healing time of two to three months. The spinal fusion surgeries that join discs together can take six to twelve months to heal.
Thus we see that the recovery process can be long or short depending on the type. It also depends on the condition of the back before surgery.
Even for simple operations, doctors recommend the patients to take short walks in the first two weeks after surgery.
These are the five essential items that you need to buy for a speedy recovery from back pain:
A.) Bathroom Essentials
After the surgery, you cannot get up and down too often. So, using the toilet might cause pressure on your healing spine. Here the toilet seat riser comes to your rescue.
Similarly, one can have extra grab bars in the bathroom. These prevent you from falling and also provide additional support. Non-skid mats and bath chairs are almost a necessity after back surgery.
B.) Mobility scooter
A folding mobility scooter is a complete boon for people who have complex operations like laminectomy and lumbar fusion, as they need several months to start walking regularly.
These are Key-operated devices with speed-control settings and LED headlights. They offer the ultimate safety and navigability.
It is better to go for electrically-charged scooters that you can fold and unfold with a remote. You should keep in mind that the seat lets you sit straight, and you should not bend or stretch your waist for receiving any object.
Similarly, you should be able to stand on the scooter as prolonged seating could result in the formation of blood clots.
C.) Ice packs and heating pads
These are a must for pain relief. In the first two weeks after surgery, you should be going for ice packs. It helps you reduce inflammation and swelling.
And then, you can use both. If you find your back stiff in the mornings, then heating pads are the best. Heat causes more blood flow to the area. It reduces stiffness and alleviates pain too.
D.) Pill organizer
After surgery, one might have severe pain. So, a patient requires different kinds of medicines like pain-killers, wound-healing tablets, stabilizers, laxatives, and emergency medicines. It might be difficult to remember their frequency of intake. And, one might forget the medicine’s purpose too. So, a pill organizer is a must-buy item as it could be a life savior.
E.) Slip-on shoes
A slip-on shoe with a grip on the sole is another essential item. After the surgery, you cannot bend to wear your sandals or tie your laces. Slip-on shoes are useful and indirectly encourage you to get up and walk.
The essential part of your route to recovery is walking. But, walking or even moving might be painful in the beginning.
One should gradually increase the walking duration from five minutes. You should not be sitting in the wheelchair or scooter continually for more than 30-45 minutes.
Walking helps you with more relaxed breathing, bowel movements, and prevents blood clots. It even improves your posture and gives a better balance.
Remaining seated on the chair might cause muscle atrophy. But one should not feel stressed while doing exercise or walking.
So, a mobility scooter should be used when you require rest. One should always consult the doctors and therapists and keep monitoring the level of fitness.
It would ensure that you could recover at the earliest and remove the dependency on walking aids.
Hi, I’m the Founder and Developer of Paramedics World, a blog truly devoted to Paramedics. I am a Medical Lab Tech, a Web Developer and Bibliophiliac. My greatest hobby is to teach and motivate other peoples to do whatever they wanna do in life.