Opting for a spinal surgery and anticipating a healthy life minus the pain at the end of it is indeed something you look forward too. Yet just going to the best spine surgeon in India and having your back operated on does not make you eligible for full recovery automatically. There are several factors to consider once the surgery is over and done with. The top spine surgeons in Bangalore
have done their job and the onus to heal properly and quickly now falls on you. Yes, you are the prime person who has to remain focused and motivated in order to recover within a short period of time.
Staying as comfortable as possible with a positive outlook towards life will definitely help you to be in a better frame both physically as well as mentally after a back surgery. Check out the points below and make sure to remember them as you embark on the road to recovery after undergoing spinal surgery in India.
While getting discharged from the hospital, the patient would receive a discharge summary that would briefly describe his preoperative condition and the surgical procedure. Most importantly, it would give a detailed description of the medicines that would need to be taken after discharge, along with their dosage schedules. The spine surgeons would also give additional instructions as regards the dos and don’ts after discharge.
Routine activity restrictions following a spine surgery include avoiding the following;
- Bending forwards
- Lifting heavy weights
- Traveling in two-wheelers and auto rickshaws
- Using Indian style of toilet commode
- Sitting for prolonged times, etc.
On reaching home, till the surgical stitches are removed, the wound dressing should not be allowed to get wet. Follow up visits will be scheduled to make sure your back is healing well. Off-the-schedule meetings can be arranged with the spine surgeon or consultant if the patient has soakage of the wound dressing, fever over 1010 F, increase in numbness or weakness in the legs, difficulty to pass urine, etc.
Generally, food has no relation to spine surgery. However, do have lots of fluids. Have fruits rather than fruit juices so as to get fiber which will protect you from constipation. Have a good amount of proteins too so as to help recovery. Pulses for vegetarians is a good option for getting proteins. Good amount of dark leafy vegetables will help restore your hemoglobin levels to normal. Also do include dark chocolate periodically, if you are not a diabetic, as it will help you to release endorphins which will drive away the “surgery-related blues”.
Only sponge-bath [wiping the body with a wet cloth] is allowed till the stitches are removed. 2 days after stitch removal, regular bath can be had along with application of soap and water over the surgical area. Generally, no dressing of the surgical wound is necessary after discharge till the stitches are removed. However, if it gets soiled or soaked, please contact your doctor immediately. No ointment needs to be applied over the surgical area after stitch removal.
Avoid smoking since it interferes with the blood supply to the discs, the “shock-absorbers” of the back.
Gradually, increase your standing and walking time within limits of comfort. There is no upper limit as to how long you can stand or walk. However, do not sit continuously; sit for 20-30 minutes, then get up, walk around for about 5 minutes and then sit down.
Sit upright [not in a military posture!]. Use a backrest while sitting. Backrest should be high reaching upto the head; it should not be straight, it should be curved to match the natural contours of the spine. Rest your hands on the armrests of the chair. This partly offloads the spine as the body weight gets transmitted through the upper limbs. Keep the computer at a neutral eye-level, so that you have neither to bend your neck forwards or backwards. Avoid bifocal lens. Avoid abnormal posture while reading/ watching television. Pillow should be just about adequate to support the head [thickness=the distance between the side of the head and the shoulder] while sleeping side-ways which is the ideal posture for your spine. Upto 5 kg of weight can be lifted after 1 month from the date of surgery. After 3 months, upto 10kg of weight may be lifted once in a while. As regards family life [physical relationship], one can gradually restart 1 month after the surgery initially as a passive partner. It is better to minimize/ avoid climbing up and down steps till the stitches are removed. Can climb up and down normally thereafter.
Return to Work Schedule; The following is the general timetable though this may vary depending on the kind of surgery and numerous other individual factors;
- Working from home- After 2 weeks from the date of surgery
- Office at a walkable distance from home- After 3 weeks from the date of surgery
- Need to commute via a vehicle to office- After 1 month from the date of surgery
- Household work including kitchen work-After 1 month from the date of surgery
- Hard physical work- After 3 months from the date of surgery
Travel Instructions; The following is the general recommendation though this may vary depending on the kind of surgery and numerous other individual factors;
- While traveling at the time of discharge and while returning back for stitch removal, it is better to travel in an ambulance.
- Can travel in 4-wheelers or a bus 1 month from the date of surgery
- While driving [which can be started after a month], keep the car seat close to the pedals so that you do not slouch down
- While traveling in the bus, better to sit in the center seats or travel standing rather than sitting in the far-front or the far-back seats
- Avoid riding in 2-wheelers/ autorickshaws for a minimum period of 3 months. Thereafter too, better to use these only if unavoidable in an emergency.
- Long distance journey exceeding 1 hour’s travel time is best done by train or flight.
On a general note, the human body does not like sudden changes; gradual incremental changes are better tolerated. Listen to your body language, if you are overdoing something or not doing something correct, your body will talk to you in the language of pain! If so, change or modify the activity!!