Back pain surgery is a very serious procedure. There are different types of surgery and the downtown after is different for them all. If you and your doctor decide that surgery is the answer for your pain then it’s good to know what to expect and prepare for post-op. This will make your life much easier after back pain surgery.
After the surgery the nurse will most likely give you discharge notes and instructions and a prescription for pain medication. They may also give you notes about physical therapy. If you are in pain after surgery the doctor can prescribe narcotic pain pills and will also recommend tylenol. If you are a patient that just had fusion surgery you must avoid NSAIDs. The doctor or nurse will give you written instructions on how to properly take the medications. There may be side effects from the medication such as nausea and constipation. Constipation is quite common and can cause a lot of pain for some patients so it is a good idea to ask the doctor for medication to help that.
After surgery it is also a good idea to have an ice or cold packs on hand, as this will also help alleviate pain. If you can go for a walk, make sure to ice right after. Walking is very good to help ease pain and with the stiffness. If you cannot go for a walk outside because of poor weather you can easily go for a short walk around your house. Heat packs are also very helpful. Heat can cause swelling in the beginning so it’s best to do this at a later point. It’s also helpful to make sure you are changing the position your body is in. This will help ease pain. As with anything sleep is very important. Make sure you are getting adequate sleep as this helps heal the body faster and better. You may be wondering if there is a certain position that is better to sleep in than others but generally speaking any position is ok. As always please consult your doctor for their recommendations. Some other sleep position options include sleeping with a pillow between the legs, getting an adjustable bed to sleep with your head up a bit more, or a pillow place underneath your knees.
Your doctor will also recommend a rehabilitation program. This will include some sort of exercise and stretching. While the programs will be different from patient to patient the main goal is to make sure you are getting enough regular movement in. However, it is very important to follow your doctor’s instructions as some movements may not be allowed, such as twisting and/or lifting.
After back pain surgery a back brace may be required too. There are many different types of back braces so it’s best to discuss the type that you will need before you have the surgery. You will want to make sure you have comfortable clothes underneath the brace.
As always please consult your doctor before taking any of these steps.