Getting Sleep After Spinal Fusion Surgery
When recovering from lumbar fusion surgery, the spine should be kept straight even when getting into and out of bed. This process is accomplished by the log-roll technique, which involves keeping the knees together and maintaining a straight back while:
- Sitting down on the edge of the bed
- Lowering the head down to the bed while lifting up the legs
- Rolling onto the back
- Ensure the bed is not too high or too low for the log-rolling technique
- Try different pillows to see what feels most comfortable
For those undergoing spinal fusion, it is beneficial to make the home as safe and convenient as possible for recovery prior to the surgery. WatchHow to Prep Your Home for Spine Surgery Recovery Video
These items may help make recovery at home more comfortable:
These changes can help the patient recover at a safe pace. Trying to do too much too quickly can increase pain and slow recovery.
The First 24 Hours After Surgery
After a few hours in recovery, you’ll go to a regular hospital room. You may have a pain pump so you can press a button and get relief as needed. A nurse will teach you breathing exercises using a tool called a spirometer. You need to do them daily as you recover. Pain medicine and anesthesia can slow breathing. That can clog airways and cause infections. A physical and occupational therapist will talk to you about exercise and movement.
Activity Restrictions After Spinal Fusion Surgery
During the early stages of recovery from spinal fusion surgery, some basic activity restrictions must be followed:
- No bending. Bending at the knee and hips are fine, but no bending the back .
- No lifting. Lifting anything that weighs more than a gallon of milkabout 8 poundsis not advised.
- No twisting. Even though many routine activities involve twisting the spine, doing so is to be avoided during this period.
- No driving. Due to drowsiness and reduced coordination in the days following major surgery, as well as the side effects of opioid painkillers, driving is not allowed. Car rides should also be limited during the early recovery period.
Chores that involve bending or liftingsuch as cooking, cleaning, washing laundry, grocery shopping, and caring for petsare better avoided in the initial recovery period. It is advised to arrange help with such chores before the surgery. It also helps to have some easy meals on hand ahead of time, such as pre-prepared or microwavable dinners.
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Q: Does Wearing A Brace/wrap Help After Spine Surgery
Wearing a back support while recovering can help relieve some of that extra work normally placed on your back. Wearing a back wrap post surgery can help ease stress and tension placed on your spinal discs, muscles, and bones. At BraceAbility, we have a wide selection of post-operative braces applying light to heavy compression for every region of your back.
Can You Damage A Spinal Fusion
Yes, you absolutely can. While methods for spine surgery have significantly improved over the years, a patient’s recovery still depends on their own diligence and dedication, so following the Dos and Don’ts of spinal fusion recovery is a must. For example, if you break an arm, you’re likely going to protect it in a cast or sling and keep from using it until it’s had time to heal, right? Putting undue stress on a bone that needs healing often exacerbates an injury.
Apply that same concept to recovery from spinal surgeries. Avoid bending at all after a lumbar fusion if possible, as bending or twisting can interfere with the way the fusion heals and even damage the work that was done.
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When To Call The Doctor
- Chills or a fever of 101°F , or higher
- More pain where you had your surgery
- Drainage from the wound, or the drainage is green or yellow
- Lose feeling or have a change of feeling in your arms or your legs and feet
- Chest pain, shortness of breath
- Your back pain worsens and does not get better with rest and pain medicine
- Difficulty urinating and controlling your bowel movements
Let Us Take Care Of You
We know the idea of having surgery can cause anxiety and leave you with many unanswered questions. Your concerns are extremely important to us. You can rely on Southern California Brain & Spine Surgery to provide you best healthcare services and make your road to recovery from surgery as comfortable as possible. We have a team of experts led by Dr. Moksha Ranasinghe who specialize in providing medical care to patients suffering from brain and spine diseases. You can schedule an appointment by filling up the contact form or call at 369-4583.
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What Happens During Surgery
- Shower again using antibacterial soap and dress in freshly washed clothing.
- You may brush your teeth. Do not eat or drink.
- If you have instructions to take regular medication the morning of surgery, do so with small sips of water.
- Remove make-up, body piercings and nail polish.
- Arrive at the hospital 2 hours before your scheduled surgery time to complete the necessary paperwork and pre-procedure work-ups.
At the hospital The nurse will check you in and show you to a room. You will be asked to remove your clothing and put on a surgical gown. In addition, you should remove any contact lenses, dentures, wigs, hairpins, jewelry or artificial limbs. Please give these and other personal belongings to your visitors to hold while you are in surgery and until you are in your assigned room.
An anesthesiologist will talk with you and explain the effects of anesthesia and its risks. An intravenous line will be placed in your arm. You will be given antibiotics to decrease the risk of infection.
You will be transported to the operating room on a stretcher. At that time, the nurse will direct your visitors to the Surgery Waiting Area. When surgery is over, your doctor will talk with your visitors there.
Once in the OR you will be given anesthesia. Your surgery will take several hours. This time frame includes the skin preparation, positioning and anesthesia time.
Follow Your Doctors Recommendations
All the information in this article is meant to be a general guideline for spinal fusion recovery. Your doctor will have specific guidelines for you.
Please refer to your doctors instructions and follow them closely. What they tell you might be slightly different than what is presented in this general guide. Your instructions are informed by your individual body and other any other conditions you may have.
Always follow the instructions and advice from your doctor.
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Surgery For Low Back Pain
Surgery to treat low back pain can be a far more extensive type of back surgery, with a longer healing period and a somewhat lower success rate, than back surgery for a pinched nerve . If the patient does not get low back pain relief after 6 to 12 months of conservative treatment, however, a fusion surgery may be a reasonable option. When the patient has the right indications, low back surgery to stop the motion at a painful motion segment and remove the pain generator should reduce the patient’s lower back pain.
Spine Surgery For Leg Pain
If most of the patient’s pain is leg pain , the pain may be due to a pinched nerve. If the leg pain does not start to resolve with conservative treatment after 4 to 6 weeks, an imaging study may be recommended to determine whether or not there is nerve pinching .
If there is pressure on the nerve, then either injections or a lumbar decompression spine surgery to take pressure off the nerve may be recommended. Back surgery for a pinched nerve can usually be done with a minimally invasive approach, and will usually result in early return to normal function . The success rate for decompression spine surgery is high, with approximately 90% of patients experiencing good relief of the leg pain after the surgery.
- What to Expect from Spine Surgery for Low Back Pain
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How Effective Is Laminectomy
Most patients experience significant back pain relief and symptom improvement after laminectomy surgery. Surgery does not correct the underlying problem thats causing spinal tissues to wear down gradually. For that reason, your symptoms may come back.
Some people continue to experience pain and worsening symptoms after laminectomy surgery.
What To Expect After Spine Surgery
There are 1.6 million spinal surgeries performed each year.
If you need spine surgery, it is important to know what to expect. Once your surgery is complete, you will enter into recovery mode.
Recovery mode means that you will prepare your body to heal. You may be wondering how this will be accomplished and what it will entail.
Here is a look at what you can expect after spine surgery.
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Recovery After Surgery For Low Back Pain Or Leg Pain
After a spine fusion surgery, it takes 3 to 12 months to return to most normal daily activities, and the success rate in terms of pain relief is probably between 70% and 90%, depending on the condition the spine surgery is treating. Soon a total disc replacement – or artificial disc surgery – may also be available as a treatment option for patients with certain types of conditions that cause ongoing low back pain. For patients who are 55 or older, symptoms of back pain and/or leg pain are much more likely to be due to degenerative arthritis that might result in a narrowing of the canal and/or instability of one vertebral segment. Generally, the low back pain and/or leg pain created by these back conditions will get worse with walking and will improve with sitting. Often, the symptoms will have been present for years, and may get worse at a very slow rate. Once a patient gets to the point that he or she can no longer adequately function because of the low back pain, lumbar decompression with or without spine fusion may be recommended to help increase the individual’s activity tolerance and quality of life.
Don’t Rush The Process
You may be tempted to try certain activities earlier than recommended, especially if you were active before your surgery. Ignore that temptation, even if you feel like your body is recovering more quickly than the timeline your physician gave you. Keep in mind, your pain medication can and will manage your pain to a certain extent as long as you’re taking it properly, but even if you don’t feel pain when performing some activities, you can still damage your spinal fusion if you forget to be patient with yourself. Even something as simple as climbing a staircase within a few days after surgery can put unnecessary stress on the fusion site.
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The Road Back To Health: What To Expect After Spinal Surgery
When a disorder impacting the spinal column and nerves make every day routines and activities challenging possibly unbearable it may be time for spinal surgery to correct the problem.
The path to recovery after spine surgery will depend on the severity of the diagnosis and the type of surgery needed to correct the damage. In most patients with back or neck pain, surgery is the last resort after trying other treatments, such as physical therapy, medications and possibly injections.
By the time people need back surgery, they usually have quite a bit of pain in the back, neck and possibly limbs, says William H. McAllister IV, M.D., a neurosurgeon with Riverside Hampton Roads Neurosurgical & Spine Specialists. Many surgeries safely alleviate pressure on nerves, thereby decreasing and eliminating frustrating and sometimes debilitating pain and weakness for patients.
Recovery After Spinal Surgery
Recovery after neck or back surgery can range from days to months, depending on the type of surgery performed and the patients overall health status.
To have a successful recovery, its critical to follow post-op instructions so you gradually return to activities and dont overdo it, Dr. McAllister says. Your spine needs time to heal properly and regain strength and movement.
To relieve post-surgery pain, your doctor may prescribe one or more of these medications: opioids, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and injection or topical medication.
Here are some common tips to follow after spinal surgery:
- Dont bend at the waist excessively.
- Dont repetitively lift or carry heavy objects, about what a gallon of milk weighs.
- Keep your incision clean and dry, cleaning it as instructed by your doctor.
- Get ample amounts of rest, sleeping in any position that does not cause pain.
- Try not to sit for longer than 20-30 minutes at a time.
- Wear a back brace as directed by your doctor.
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Preparing For Your Recovery
It may seem like the days leading up to your surgery are the most important, but in reality, how well you recover will determine the long-term success of your surgery.
Making preparations in advance will not only eliminate unneeded stress but will keep you on track during your recovery process.
Some things you can do to help aid in your recovery include the following.
- Stop smoking. Tobacco use is linked to poor healing and extended healing times in instances where bone healing must take place.
- Arrange for transportation to and from the hospital. You will not be able to drive following surgery. If you dont have a friend or family member that can help, your doctors office can provide you with the contact information for medical transportation services.
- Have help for the first couple of weeks at home. Although you may feel better after just a few days, its essential that you not put too much burden on yourself. Arrange to have someone come in that can help with cooking, cleaning, laundry and other household duties. The same goes for childcare. Ensure you have someone that can help you with parenting duties until you are able to keep up.
- Make all of your appointments ahead of time. You will need to have follow-up visits with your doctor. There is also the possibility that youll be prescribed physical therapy. Schedule these appointments before you even have your surgery so you can plan ahead.
Create An Exercise Plan
Although its best to avoid aggressive exercise after a spine injury, exercising will help decrease back pain, increase circulation and enhance your mood.
Work with a physical therapist to create an exercise plan that includes a combination of strengthening, stretching and low-impact aerobic activity.
In addition, orthopedic doctors also recommend making an effort to move toward a healthier weight because it will reduce the stress on your spine before, after, and during back surgery recovery.
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Undergoing A Laminectomy: What To Expect Post
Do you have an upcoming surgery? You might be worried about the outcomes of the procedure. It is completely normal to feel anxious. An impending surgery is enough to cause agitation and uneasiness in even the bravest of individuals. And these thoughts might lead you to refuse a surgery that you really need! Ask your healthcare provider to address your queries and clear all your misconceptions before you make a decision. Read this article to get an idea about the kind of lifestyle youll need to adopt after undergoing a laminectomy.
Its not the procedure patients are afraid of, its the post-surgical life they get anxious about. They want to know if its going to be painful and how long it will take to fully recover.
You may also want to read: Lumbar Laminectomy Surgery: Procedure, Risks and Recovery
Resuming Activity After Spinal Surgery
Your surgeon will recommend careful and limited movements after surgery. You may only be able to go up or down the stairs once a day for the first couple of weeks and take only short walks. Some movement is important to prevent blood clots from forming in your legs, also known as deep vein thrombosis. Your doctor may ask you to wear compression socks, too.
You may need ongoing physical therapy at some point in your recovery. The therapist will help you strengthen and stretch your back muscles. Youll also learn how to strengthen the core muscles which will help prevent pain and keep your spine in a safe position.
You will be limited on how much you can drive a car after surgery, especially if youre taking opioid medications. Even riding in a car must be gradual, so youre not sitting for too long.
Our neurosurgery team specializes in minimally invasive procedures to treat neurological and spine conditions, providing world-class medical, surgical and rehabilitative care. Check out our neurosurgery locations.
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What Happens Before Surgery
Health exam You will need to have a physical exam from your primary care physician before surgery to be sure your heart and lungs are healthy. A blood test, electrocardiogram , and chest X-ray may be performed. Discuss all medications you are taking with your health care provider. Some medications need to be continued or stopped the day of surgery. Medications that thin the blood should be stopped 7-10 days prior to surgery. Drugs that thin the blood include:
- Wintergreen snuff
Do not drink alcohol 1 week before and 2 weeks after surgery to avoid bleeding problems.
The hospital will call you several days before your surgery and ask questions about your health . They will also ask for a complete list of medications including prescriptions, over-the-counter, and herbal supplements.
SmokingThe most important way to achieve a successful spinal fusion surgery is to quit smoking. Stop all tobacco use: cigarettes, e-cigarettes, cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco, and smokeless tobacco . Nicotine prevents bone growth and decreases successful fusion. Fusions fail in 40% of smokers, compared with 8% of non-smokers . Smoking also decreases blood circulation, resulting in slower wound healing and an increased risk of infection.
Talk with your doctor about nicotine replacements, pills without nicotine , and tobacco counseling programs.
What to bring to the hospital
Night before surgery