Managing The Recovery Of Spinal Surgery Patients

If you recently had spinal surgery, then your physician may have recommended that you transfer to a hospital for special surgery rehab. These hospitals offer intensive programs specifically designed to rehabilitate patients who have had extensive or complicated surgical procedures. Here are some treatments you may receive after your spinal procedure at a hospital for special surgery rehab.

Pain Management

Before you can actively participate in your rehab program following your spinal surgery, your pain will need to be managed. Unless you have effective pain control, you may be unable to ambulate or do your restorative exercises. The nursing staff at the hospital for special surgery rehab will monitor your level of pain and administer your medication per the attending physician's orders.

For the first few days, your pain management medication protocol may include narcotic or opioid-based medication, however, your doctor may want to switch to anti-inflammatory-type medications once your pain is no longer acute. Anti-inflammatory medications relieve both pain and swelling, however, they do not cause excessive sleepiness and fatigue like opioid-based pain medications do. 

Physical Therapy

After the medical staff has effectively managed your pain, you can begin participating in a physical therapy program. When you are first starting out, your physical therapist may recommend that your exercises be performed in your bed. After you gradually build up your strength, you will continue your rehab in the physical therapy department. The physical therapy (PT) room is equipped with stationary upright and recumbent bicycles, stairs to practice going up and down, and various-sized weights. 

Your physical therapy may also consist of gait training to help you walk and to strengthen your spine and its surrounding muscles. Your therapist will have you wear a device known as a gait belt which is buckled around your waist.

The physical therapist will grab onto the gait bait to steady you while you walk so that you do not lose your balance. This will also give you more confidence while you are walking as it will diminish your fear of falling. 

If you are anticipating spinal surgery, consider the above rehab interventions. The sooner you start rehabilitation after your surgery the more likely you may be to enjoy a permanent recovery. It is thought that people who participate in rehab early in their recovery may enjoy better mobility, range of motion, flexibility, and pain relief than those who delay rehab or forego it altogether.