Proper post operative care following your lumbar spine surgery is critical to achieving a good outcome. If you follow post op instructions well, your chances for the best possible outcome increase dramatically.
In the first days following you surgery, you can naturally expect some post operative pain. You will be given pain medicines to lessen the pain, please take them as instructed if you need them. However, most, often narcotics are not necessary for prolonged periods of time.
You may lie on either side or your back. It is generally not recommended to lie on your stomach.
You should have someone check your wound daily for redness, excessive swelling, or drainage. If any of these things are noted, please contact the office. If sutures are to be removed, you will be given an appointment for this.
In the first few weeks following surgery, it is important to get some light exercise, usually walking. Try to increase the amount of walking every few days. There may be days when you feel a bit more sore than others. This is normal.
It is important to avoid bending, lifting and twisting motions of the spine in the first several weeks. These types of actions are likely to cause an increase in pain and will prolong your recovery. These types of activities are also more likely to cause recurrent disc herniations.
You will be given shower instructions upon discharge from the hospital.
Use pain medications as needed. Try to reduce the use of this medicines as tolerated. Pain medicines are constipating. The decrease in activity naturally associated with a surgery will also tend to make you constipated. To avoid this, drink plenty of fluids, and consider taking a mild laxative if needed.
Return to work issues are handled on a case by case basis. This is largely dependent on the extent of the surgery, and your occupation.
Please get adequate rest.
Unless you have had a fusion, you will not need a brace. If you are instructed to wear a brace, you will also be given instructions on it’s use
Sexual activity may be resumed when it is comfortable for you. Lying on your side may be the most comfortable position.