Disc replacement surgery recovery can be quick and successful if a few basic precautions are taken.
The Need for Disc Replacement Surgery Recovery
Artificial disc replacement surgery brings relief from the disc pain symptoms that are experienced by patients suffering from degenerative disc diseases and it scores over the more traditional spinal fusion method as ADR allows greater mobility post-surgery.
The techniques and artificial disc implants involved are improving and developing constantly and success rates are high. However, like all surgeries, post operative care and treatment plays a big role in disc replacement surgery recovery.
Disc Replacement Surgery Recovery – Immediate Post-Operative Measures
(i) Back surgery recovery does involve spending a minimum of two days in the hospital. Most patients experience an immediate relief from acute pain. If you do have higher than expected levels of pains during disc replacement surgery recovery, your hospital stay should and will be extended.
(ii) The doctor will encourage you to walk within a few hours of the surgery. Push yourself to do so even if you do not feel up to it. A physical therapist will advise you on how to make the right moves while getting out of bed.
(iii) Before leaving the hospital, make sure you have a clear understanding on how to take care of your incision. The most common advice given is to keep the incision dry and clean and let nature do the healing.
(iv) The doctor will also advise you on the activities that you can do – and also a time schedule on how to increase the activity level. These should be strictly followed to ensure perfect disc replacement surgery recovery.
(v) Eat a diet that is rich in proteins and dietary fibers. Fibers are essential because the pain medication may otherwise cause constipation. Proteins will help your body to heal quickly during the recovery period.
(vi) Though pain levels will decline, the doctor may prescribe pain medication to deal with what are called distraction pain and nerve pain. Distraction pain is caused because your muscles and ligaments will stretch in order to accommodate the restored height of the disc and this will reduce over time. Nerve pain will depend on the extent to which the disc was damaged.
Disc Replacement Surgery Recovery – Long Term Post Operative Care
(i) Even though you will be allowed to go home in four days, you will have to wear a neck brace for at least 12 weeks following the operation. This is because artificial disc recovery rates are improved if you do not place any extra stress on your neck muscles. Always move carefully and avoid extending or bending your neck backwards. In fact, your therapist will advice you on go about your normal, daily routine – dressing, bathing etc – without putting strain on your neck.
(ii) Follow the instructions given by your physical and occupational therapist while you were in the hospital, regarding how to walk and move. The prescribed program will set a target of 30 minutes of brisk walking for five days of the week.
(iii) Most activities like driving and walking are allowed during the disc replacement surgery recovery period. However, you will be prohibited from lifting heavy items as well as sitting in one position for too long. This means extra care must be taken if you tend to use the computer for long hours or are addicted to reading. Be sure to keep changing your position so that your back and neck muscles are not strained.
(iv) The surgeon will prescribe out-patient therapy for quicker recovery. Soft-tissue treatments like massages and ice stimulation will help deal with pain and muscle stress.
(v) An exercise routine is essential to get you back in shape quickly. The aim of the routine is to improve the flexibility and strength of your muscles. The exercise routine will include stretching exercises for the neck muscle as well as strengthening and endurance exercises for the upper back and arms respectively. Gym activities that are allowed include the treadmill as well as stationary bike. Swimming is also a great exercise for back surgery recovery.
(vi) The restriction on activities is normally for a period of six weeks. Unless your job involves stress on your back and neck muscles or lifting of heavy loads, you should be able to return to work within two to four weeks.
Success rates are high for ADR surgeries and good post operative care can quicken the pace of disc replacement surgery recovery.