Having spinal fusion surgery can provide you with relief from a spinal compression injury, but the recovery process is lengthy and can feel both inconvenient and stressful – at least at times. Here are a few things you can do to make recovering from spinal fusion surgery more comfortable and convenient overall:
In the Hospital
You'll likely spend three or four days in the hospital after your spinal fusion surgery is complete to ensure that no complications arise and to get you started with physical therapy so you can safely stand and walk before going home. You may even have to be moved to a rehabilitation unit for further recovery before going home. To make sure that your multi-day hospital stay is comfortable and invokes minimal stress, take the time to pack a custom box that a family member or friend can bring to you once you wake up from your surgery. The box should include items that remind you of home and will keep you occupied while waiting to be released such as:
- Family photos that typically sit in the living dining room at home.
- A favorite throw pillow or blanket from home that smells like your pets.
- A small speaker and MP3 player filled with your favorite music.
- Crossword puzzles and hobby items you enjoy utilizing at home.
- A tablet filled with home videos of your family and friends.
Consider including a few books borrowed from the library that focus on recovery after spinal fusion surgery and feature meditations, exercises, and lifestyle changes you can use for optimal comfort and mobility as the years pass.
The First Weeks at Home
During the first few weeks at home your mobility will be limited and you may experience quite a bit of discomfort as your back heals and you work on moving your body again. You will likely need someone to help you get around, and even to take care of your most basic needs like preparing meals and bathing. So, before heading to the hospital for our spinal infusion surgery, it's a good idea to secure a volunteer or two who can be around when your spouse or other household members can't be there to support you.
Make sure that you'll have someone to rely on during all waking hours in case you fall and injure yourself or can't get around the house on your own. Even if it's a neighbor who can run over when you call them, you'll appreciate the one-on-one support and overall convenience as you heal. Schedule your doctor's appointments and other errands you will need transportation for ahead of your surgery if possible so your support team has time to plan for the accommodations.
In the Years Ahead
Because spinal fusion surgery limits the natural movement of your vertebrae, chances are that you will need to limit certain kinds of twisting and lifting activities to avoid unnecessary stress and the chance of a fracture. Ask your doctor and physical therapist to provide you with a list of acceptable exercises you can adopt long term and seek out classes for the options you're interested in so you can start them a couple of months after surgery.
You should also be provided with a list of movements you'll need to avoid long-term, so take the time to find alternatives that will enhance your overall lifestyle as time goes on. You may be faced with new limitations when it comes to participating in your favorite physical activities, but with the help of a physical therapist, you should be able to create modifications that allow you to continue getting satisfaction out of those activities.
To learn more about ways to recover from spinal surgery, contact companies like Southwest Florida Neurosurgical & Rehab Associates.