How to Prepare for Spinal Surgery to Recover Faster?

Many adults across the world suffer from conditions that could eventually result in spinal surgery. This is usually recommended by a doctor after a range of treatments have been tried without any significant improvement in terms of relieving pain and other symptoms.

In this article, we will discuss how to prepare for back surgery to help recover faster.

How long does it usually take to recover from spinal surgery?

Most people who have had spinal surgery can return to work within three weeks, however, a full recovery can take between two to three months. Fortunately, there are measures you can take to help speed up this recovery time.

What conditions require spinal surgery?

Two of the most common conditions that require spinal surgery to relieve pain, improve mobility, and stop further deterioration are spondylolisthesis and lumbar spinal stenosis.

What is Spondylolisthesis?

Spondylolisthesis is a condition that occurs when one of a person’s vertebrae (spinal bones) slips out of position, pressing on the adjacent vertebrae, the spinal cord, or the surrounding nerves. This causes lower back pain that can range in severity.\ \ There are a number of treatments that can help relieve this pain but if the symptoms persist, surgery would be the next step. Spinal surgery has a very high success rate for this condition.

What is Lumbar Spinal Stenosis?

Lumbar Spinal Stenosis relates to the narrowing of the spinal canal in the lower back. As a result of this narrowing, pressure is applied to the spinal cord and nerves, causing pain. Stenosis can happen in any part of the spine, but it is most common in the lower back.

What symptoms can Spinal Surgery cure?

Spinal surgery can help cure and relieve a range of symptoms, including:

  • Back, neck, and leg pain
  • Numbness
  • Weakness
  • A lack of mobility
  • Bladder and bowel issues

What Spinal Surgery offers the quickest recovery time?

For lumbar spinal stenosis and spondylolisthesis surgery, a TOPS System is considered to be the best option in terms of aiding a speedy recovery and maintaining a full range of motion in a person’s back.

A TOPS System would be recommended if you suffer from a range of back conditions and experience issues such as:

  • Pain in the lower back
  • Pain in the buttocks and upper leg
  • Radiating leg pain
  • Significant pain when walking for two minutes or longer

A clear sign that the pain is related to a spinal issue is if the pain subsides when bending over or leaning forward.

As opposed to spinal fusion surgery, the state-of-the-art device mimics the natural motion in a person’s back, ensuring they maintain their mobility and independence following surgery, thus allowing them to do a range of exercises and live a normal life.

How to Prepare for Spinal Surgery to recover faster

To help speed up the recovery process, there are a number of things a patient can do before the operation to ensure they are fully prepared.

Create an Exercise Plan

Intense exercise should definitely be avoided after spinal surgery, however, creating a plan of simple exercises that can encourage mobility and help strengthen muscles is a great way of speeding up your recovery. Not only can it quicken recovery, but it can also ease post-op pain, improve circulation, and exercise is proven to improve a person’s mood and well-being.

A physiotherapist can help you devise an effective exercise plan that includes a combination of strengthening, stretching, and low-intensity aerobic activities.

Lose weight before the operation

Many orthopedic doctors also highly recommend patients shed some pounds before an operation, working towards a healthier and more natural weight to reduce stress on the spine.

Prepare your Home

Before your spinal surgery, you should try to prepare your home as best as possible as you may not have the necessary mobility to move things around afterward.

To prepare your home you should:

  • Create a clear path around your home, free of obstacles.
  • Keep frequently used items in easy reach.
  • Ensure you have a chair that has armrests to help you stand.
  • Avoid having a bed that is too low or too high.
  • Make sure the toilet seat is at the correct height.
  • Place a non-slip mat in your shower.

Find a Caregiver

You may need some assistance for around a month after your surgery, so arrange a caregiver prior to the operation. This could be your partner, family member, or a professional, helping you with tasks such as grocery shopping, lifting, bathing, and general chores.

Plan to quit smoking

A good idea whether you are undergoing surgery or not is to give up smoking. Smoking can result in your spine degenerating at a quicker rate and can also increase pain levels.

Educate yourself about the surgery

You should always do as much reading as possible before any form of surgery so you know the dos and don’ts. If you have any queries about the surgery and are struggling to find any information online, then book a consultation with your doctor.

Ways to speed up your recovery from back surgery

As well as preparing well, there are also a number of things you can do after the surgery to aid recovery.

Eat well

Build up your immune system and help speed along the healing process by eating well.

  • Eat foods that are high in protein and contain a lot of antioxidants, reducing the chance of infection and helping your muscles recover.
  • Avoid food that contains a lot of sugar and processed carbohydrates as they can increase inflammation.
  • Make sure you drink lots of water.

Walk as often as you can

One of the best exercises you can do after surgery is walking, as this can help reduce pain levels. Plan a simple route in your house and try to walk it six or seven times each day.

Take care when bathing and grooming

Do not submerge the wound for two weeks after the surgery, instead keep it as dry as possible and gently clean it using a washcloth.

Follow the doctor’s mobility instructions

Your doctor and physical therapist will give you instructions on how to safely perform tasks such as sitting up, getting out of the shower, and turning in bed. Always keep to these instructions until told otherwise.

Be mindful of the risks to your wounds

Pay close attention to your wound and if you notice any discoloration or inflammation then speak to your doctor. This could be a sign of necrotic tissue which stops blood from reaching the wound, prolonging the healing process and possibly leading to infection.

Thank you for reading, we wish you luck with your spinal surgery and a speedy recovery.