As the most-often performed spine procedure in the United States, fusion surgery has a fairly high success rate, especially with the adoption of minimally invasive spine surgeries. Even so, recovery from spinal fusion surgery is still going to involve some added steps to increase your odds of enjoying positive results.
1. Get a Helping Hand
Limit what you lift to under 10 pounds. Arrange for help around the house during your recovery period to prevent unnecessary strain from bending, reaching, or lifting. Also consider seeking assistance with:
- Grocery shopping
- Laundry and housecleaning
- Caring for pets
2. Manage Pain in Multiple Ways
You’ll be prescribed some pain medications following your release from the hospital. These are generally meant for short-term use, and it’s often difficult to get a stronger dose or multiple refills. Ease your reliance on these meds by managing your pain with:
- Ice packs and heating pads
- Anti-inflammatory foods like nuts and almonds and green, leafy vegetables
- Light exercise to rebuild muscle strength, with doctor approval
3. Eliminate Potential Hazards in the Home
A fall after spinal fusion surgery can cause re-injury or prevent the fusion from forming if the fall is severe enough. Prior to your surgery, do a home inspection and remove loose rugs and other potential hazards, and also consider:
- Nonslip bathmats
- A cane or walker
- Self-stick grip bars for the shower or bathtub
4. Increase Your Comfort and Convenience
Raised toilet seats can ease sitting and standing and hand-operated grippers can minimize reaching. These are just some of the items you can use to maintain your comfort and avoid excessive strain. Keeping a mini-fridge upstairs can minimize trips downstairs to the kitchen, and filling up a reusable water bottle can help keep you hydrated.
5. Watch for Signs of Infection
The incision site generally needs to be cleaned once a day and checked twice daily for signs of infection. Report unusual discharge, redness, swelling, or anything else out of the ordinary to your Newport Beach spine surgeon. Signs of infection also include:
- Pain around the incision site
To gain a general idea of what type of discomfort is normal following spinal fusion surgery, Newport Beach spine surgery experts like Dr. Hamid Mir can help. If you’re in doubt or experiencing persistent or worsening pain, call our offices today at 949-860-7498 to schedule an in-person consultation.