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How to Help Someone After Back Surgery

If your loved one is undergoing spine surgery you want to be there to help them. But it’s not always easy to know how to help someone after back surgery. Here are some post-surgery tips for caregivers.

how to help your loved one recover from back sugery or spine surgery

How to Sit After Back Surgery

After back or neck surgery it’s recommended to keep the patient’s back supported. The best chair is one that provides support and has arms. It’s also recommended they not sit in one position for too long. After about 20-40 minutes the patient should get up, move around and change position. If you’re providing support as they get up make sure they’re not twisting but keeping their spine as straight as possible.

What’s the Best Way to Sleep After Back Surgery?

No matter what sleep position the patient prefers, it’s important they keep their spine supported when sleeping. For back sleepers, they should use a pillow to support their head and knees. Side sleepers should use one pillow under their head and one between their knees.

How to Care for Incisions After Surgery

Depending on the type of surgery your loved one may have different incisions that need to heal after surgery. It’s important that they’re kept clean and dry. You should check the wounds regularly to ensure there are no signs of infection (like redness, swelling or oozing). Follow the doctor’s recommendations on dressing the wound.

How Long After Spine Surgery Can You Take a Bath?

Baths should be avoided immediately after surgery. To stay clean you can help your loved one take a sponge bath or shower with the aid of a shower chair. If they have staples or stitches that have to be removed they’ll return to the doctor’s office to have this done about 10-14 days after surgery. During this visit they should ask their doctor about baths.

Smoking after Surgery

Smoking reduces the oxygen level in your blood and makes your body work harder to heal. Therefore, smoking is not recommended after surgery. However, if your loved one decides to quit smoking before or after their surgery make sure their doctor is aware.

Post Surgery Medications

The doctor may have prescribed pain medication for the spine surgery patient. If they have medication it’s important they use it as instructed.  Some of the medications, especially the narcotics, can be habit forming so it’s also best to discontinue use when the patient feels their pain subsiding.

NSAID’s (non-steroid anti-inflammatories) like Advil or Ibuprofen should not be taken after surgery as they can inhibit healing.

If the patient takes other regular medications be sure they review them with their doctor prior to being released from the hospital.

If you have other questions about post-surgical care call your doctor’s office.




*Please Note: Information on this site or any recommended sites should not be used as a diagnosis or a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.
Blue Distinction Center for Spine Surgery