Recovering after spine surgery is most successful if you prepare well before your surgery. Most people will have restrictions on twisting and bending for at least the first six weeks after their procedure. During that time, you’ll also need to avoid lifting, pushing, or pulling objects that weigh more than than 5 pounds.
At Neurosurgery One in Denver, we want to make sure you are prepared for a safe and easy transition to your home upon discharge from the hospital after spine surgery. Here are a few tips to get your residence and your daily routine ready so you can recover faster from spine surgery.
- Go through your cupboards and drawers to identify things you use often when preparing or eating meals. Arrange them on your counter or kitchen table within easy reach.
- Prepare meals ahead of time and freeze them. Don’t forget about breakfast! Have some fast and healthy options ready to go. Ask friends and family if they might be willing to prepare and deliver a meal while you are recovering.
- If you live alone, consider using disposable plates and silverware so you don’t have to wash them.
- A few days before surgery, shop for needed supplies and stock up on your favorite fresh produce.
- Put the foods and drinks you reach for the most on an easy-to-access shelf in your refrigerator. If you usually buy milk or other drinks by the gallon, consider a smaller size or transfer the liquid into smaller containers so they’re lighter.
- Consider getting a toilet riser.
- Make sure you have a non-slip shower mat and secure bath mats on the floor if you have them.
- Make sure your prescription and any over-the-counter medications and supplements you take regularly are within easy reach.
- Practice routines like brushing your teeth and washing your hair to make sure you have supplies within reach and good technique that doesn’t require bending or twisting.
- If your bed isn’t at hip level, consider putting it on risers so that you can easily get in and out of it.
- Put clean sheets on the bed the night before your surgery.
- Practice the “log roll” technique for getting out of bed. Lying on your back, bend your knees one at a time. Without bending your spine, roll onto your side. Carefully drop your legs over the edge of the bed as you push up with your arms into a sitting position.
- Go through your closet and dresser to find comfortable, easy-to-put-on clothing. Button-up shirts are best so you don’t have to reach over your head. Arrange these items on top of your dresser or another hip-height surface.
- Invest in slip-on shoes so you don’t have to bend over to put them on.
- Make sure all of the laundry is done and you have plenty of clothes to wear since you won’t be able to lift heavy laundry baskets or bend over to put things in and out of the machines.
- Do a walkthrough of your home to check for cords or throw rugs that could be tripping hazards.
- Ask for or hire help to clean your house, mow the lawn, shovel snow, put out garbage bins, or whatever other maintenance tasks need to be done during your recovery.
- Make sure you have a family member or friend who can stay with your 24/7 for the first few days you’re at home.
- Arrange pet care, especially if you have a dog that needs to be walked regularly.
- You won’t be able to drive yourself for two to six weeks after surgery, so you need to arrange transportation to and from surgery, appointments, and errands.
At Neurosurgery One, all of our spine surgery patients learn more about these tips along with safe techniques for bending and lifting at our “prehab” spine clinic.