Recovery & Aftercare
It is important to closely follow your surgeon’s instructions for recovery after your back surgery.
To manage the pain following surgery, you will be prescribed medication or be administered a painkiller via an IV during your hospital stay. Normally, driving is not resumed for a period of weeks after the surgery due to narcotic pain medication that is normally prescribed.
It’s important to take direction from your doctors on how to position your spine and maintain your posture to ensure that you care for and protect your back. It is normally not advised to completely limit yourself to bed rest, as physical activity is important to stimulating muscles and the circulation of the blood.
Exercise programs and physical therapy are often recommended during the recovery process to help get the best results. Make sure you get a program tailored to your specific needs and that your physical routine is supervised by a medical professional.
Your doctor may also recommend iron or other vitamin supplements to aid in recovery.
Things to Do During Recovery from Back Surgery
- Eat balanced meals.
- Drink plenty of fluids.
- Avoid smoking.
- Avoid drinking alcohol to excess.
- Use lumbar support and maintain proper posture when sitting.
- Do not twist or bend right away. Consult with your doctor on increasing your range of motion during recovery.
- Avoid lifting, pushing or pulling objects larger than 5 pounds.
- Do not allow constipation to progress more than 2 days without taking a laxative.
- Do not bathe in a tub or swim until your wound is completely healed and you have approval from your doctor to do so.
- Only engage in sexual activity when you feel physically strong enough to do so. Certain positions may be more comfortable than others and you should stop if it becomes painful.
- Walking is the best activity for the first 6 weeks after surgery.
Warning Signs to Report to Your Doctor
If you experience any of the following symptoms, you should report them to your doctor immediately:
- Shaking chills
- Fever above 100 degrees
- Swelling, pain or red streaks in your legs
In an emergency, always call 911.