No matter when you underwent your spine surgery, there just never seems like a perfect time. You may have thought, “I will go ahead and get this out of the way over the Holidays to that I will be back on my feet by the new year.” However, you may have forgotten to take into account the challenge of physical therapy following surgery. Now with your spine surgery behind you, you may be left wondering how you are going to fit in your physical therapy appointments and recommended exercises.
You are undergoing physical therapy for many reasons, one of which is to get back to your normal routine and life pre spine surgery. So if you’re worrying about how your regular physical therapy session will work — stop right there. Because worry and stress are the last things your spine surgeon and physical therapist want you to do while in recovery. So take a deep breath and follow these helpful tips for completing your physical therapy.
1. Plan Ahead
Schedule your appointments ahead of time and keep them. If possible, on days where you have a physical therapy appointment scheduled, try to keep your other plans light. Instead of going out shopping, plan to stay in and take it easy.
2. Make Your Priorities Known
Be upfront with your friends and family. Let them know that physical therapy is an integral part of your life at the moment and that you can schedule parties and plans around your appointments.
3. Help Yourself
If you are on a special post-surgery diet, create menus that include the kinds of foods on your diet. When dining out, opt for restaurants with menu items that will help you maintain your health and aid in speeding your recovery.
4. Ask For Help
If you work in a field where lifting or physical activity is involved, don’t be afraid to solicit help in advance so that you don’t have to tax your body any more than necessary while you’re still recovering from spine surgery and completing your physical therapy.
5. Watch your alcohol intake
While drinking may seem to lighten your mood, it is a depressant that can end up adding to your distress. Furthermore, it can put you in dangerous physical situations you can’t handle while undergoing physical therapy. Before popping open a bottle, check with your spine surgeon to make sure alcohol will not have an adverse effect with medications you may be taking.
6. Know When To Say “No”
You do not want to over do things and suffer a setback. Carry your calendar with you at all times so that you can say “no” when you already have time set aside for physical therapy session or for much-needed rest.
7. Have Coping Techniques Handy
It is common for people undergoing physical therapy to feel down at times. While you may try to plan for every contingency, remember that you will likely have to deal with potentially negative feelings that creep up and put a damper on your spirit. Try putting some mental health plans in your daily schedule. Turn off the phone, lie down, take a walk, or do some gentle yoga exercises approved by your therapist.
Recovering from spine surgery is not an easy task and therefore it is completely normal to feel frustrated, down, or helpless at times. If you have specific concerns, talk with your spine surgeon or physical therapist or share your feelings at a support group or with a trusted friend. Do not hesitate to ask your doctor for a referral to a counselor if your feelings are interfering with your ability to function or if continuing depression lingers. Acknowledging your feelings to a professional can help you lessen the stress you’re feeling.
Overall, physical therapy is designed to enhance your life post spine surgery. So keep your appointments, talk to your physical therapist about your concerns and above all, enjoy yourself knowing that you are on the road to recovery.
If you need evaluation from a spine expert, EmergeOrtho: Foothills Region, has you covered. Our team of highly knowledgeable physicians and surgeons are experts in the field of spine pain, injuries, and medical conditions. Learn more about our treatments or schedule an appointment today!