The single leading cause of disability worldwide and one of the most common reasons for missed work is back pain. It is estimated that 31 million Americans are feeling it at any given time, and every year more than 700,000 people turn to surgery when the pain can no longer be managed with medication and physical therapy.
When surgery has become your only option to get relief from debilitating back pain, one of the first things you should do is put your doctor to the test with these questions: are you board certified to perform spine surgery? How many of these procedures have you performed?
“Another question is, can I talk to some of your former patients or current patients that have undergone this procedure?” K. Rad Payman, M.D., a spine surgeon shares.
Dr. Payman explained training before a surgery will speed recovery after, just like training for a marathon.
“Even if that’s swimming or using a recumbent bike or just stretching or doing yoga that helps,” Dr. Payman said.
Also consider your diet. Load up on protein to provide the amino acids to strengthen your back muscles. Use omega-3 as an anti-inflammatory, and remember that Vitamin C is essential for collagen healing.
Furthermore, avoid refined sugars. The amount of sugar in a 12-ounce can of soda has been shown to suppress your immune system for up to two days. Limit coffee, alcohol and soda which can dehydrate you, and stay away from ibuprofen and aspirin which can slow healing.
Recovering from back surgery can take anywhere from six weeks to six months, but the sooner you can start walking, and keep walking for exercise, the faster you’ll heal.
Lastly, the most important things to watch out for post-surgery are any warning signs of blood clots or infections. These complications are most likely to occur during the first few weeks after surgery and include swelling in the calf, ankle or foot, and tenderness or redness, which may extend above or below the knee. Occasionally, a blood clot will travel through the blood stream and may settle in your lungs. If this happens, you may experience a sudden chest pain and shortness of breath or cough.