Not that long ago, spine surgery typically meant time in a hospital and long recovery times afterward. Nowadays, thanks to modern technology and advances in surgical techniques, many spinal procedures are now minimally invasive and performed on an outpatient basis, making recovery times much shorter. Even so, there are things you can do at home to promote quick healing so you can get back to your normal routine. Take a look at these five tips that can help speed up your spinal surgery recovery time.
1. Stop smoking
Aside from the many well-known severe health risks smoking presents, cigarette smoke contains nicotine and other harmful chemicals that affect oxygen levels in the blood, making it more difficult for wounds to heal. It also suppresses the immune system, increasing your risk for infection and other complications during the recovery process. If you want to heal faster, now is a great time to quit smoking.
2. Avoid refined sugars
You may be tempted to “treat yourself” after surgery, but bear in mind that refined sugars and processed food products tend to suppress the immune system and slow recovery, not unlike the chemicals found in cigarettes. Sugar also promotes inflammation in the body which works against the healing process. Stay away from the sweets and you’ll recover more quickly.
3. Eat a nutrient-rich diet
Foods high in protein help the body rebuild muscle and tissues; leafy green vegetables offer a wide range of additional nutrients that improve blood flow and promote healing. A diet rich in vegetables and protein will go a long way to making you feel better faster.
4. Get plenty of sleep
While you’re recovering, you’ll have additional time to rest — why not take advantage of it? Sleep is the body’s way of rejuvenating itself. Give yourself at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night to encourage a return to health after surgery.
5. Drink water
We don’t mean “fluids.” We mean water. Juice can help provide additional nutrients, but soda and alcohol are counterproductive during this time. Water helps flush harmful toxins out of your system so your body isn’t fighting so hard to regenerate. Do your body a favor and stay well-hydrated.
At Polaris Spine & Neurosurgery, we are committed to helping all our patients get back to their lives after surgery as quickly as possible. To learn more about what to expect with spinal surgery recovery, give us a call at 404-256-2633.