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Recovering from Back Surgery

Good afternoon everyone!

As many of you have heard I am recovering from a recent back surgery. Things are going well, but I thought I might share some tips I've learned for a healthy and speedy recovery. These are the top 5:

1) Listen to your doctor's orders

The doctor will give you specific orders that are specific to your case. It is important to follow these as they will ensure you have the best possible recovery. Please note that even if you do follow these orders to the letter there is still a small chance things may not heal the

way expected. Things that may occur that can delay or prevent healing are infections, pain, uncontrolled blood sugars, and/or blood loss. These are things you should consult your doctor about if you think you may be experiencing.

2) Eat a high fibre, high calorie diet

Eating a high fibre, high calorie diet helps to prevent constipation which reduces strain on your wounds and helps with healing. The nurses and dietician will give you great food

suggestions on what to eat to keep you regular and healthy. Green leafy vegetables, fresh fruits, legumes, etc. are great foods to keep your bowel movements softer and more regular. Increased calories could be bigger proportions of red meats which also has increased protein content as well,

3) Pain control

For the first 2-3 days follow the prescribed pain control regime laid out by doctor and follow any tips from your nurses. If you are in pain its ok to take pain medication, as long as prescribed, and don't wait until pain is severe to take them. It is harder to treat the pain once it has become severe. After you get through the worst of it, usually 4-5 days, start to taper off the pain medications or decrease doses. For example, if you're taking opioids try tapering down how often you are taking them and add in Tylenol (325-650mg every 4-6

hours, or 500-1000mg every 6-8 hours [max. 4gm in 24 hours]). Then, when able taper off the opioids all together and take Tylenol and/or Advil as needed. Be sure to consult doctor before doing any medication changes.

4) Walk or change positions

Walk and/or change positions as early as possible and as much as possible.

Physiotherapy will recommend early post-op exercises, when to mobilize, how to mobilize, etc. It is so important to follow these directions! I caught myself once not following the directions accidentally and the pain I felt following was excruciating. They give you these exercises and positioning to decrease pain, increase healing time, and decrease pain.


This final one is a little embarassing but I think so so important to talk about. If you are put under general anethesia one of the side effects is making your digestive tract "sleepy," which can lead to constipation which in turn can lead to pain and pressure. Another thing that may cause constipation is the use of pain medications, especially opioids. I

recommend starting laxatives the same time you start these medications. This will hopefully reduce your risk of becoming constipated and hopefully save you some unneccessary pain and discomfort.

This has been my experience and I thought I would share what my journey has taught me so far. The experience of surgery can and will be different for each and every single person. We all experience things different thanks to our genetic makeups. It makes us unique. So this is just a very general overview and may or may not work for you, Always consult your doctor and medical team for your best possible recovery plan. Have a great day!

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