Pave the way for an easier homecoming after your spine surgery by incorporating these simple tips. Happy recovery!
Place items where you can reach them. Place the items you use daily (toothbrush, plates and cups, pajamas, etc.) on shelves that are around waist level so that you don't have to reach up or down at all.
Read more: Preparation Before Back Surgery
Stock up on pre-made meals. Make meals ahead of time and freeze them or buy healthy microwaveable meals and snacks, so you don't have to do any food prep. Frequent, small, high-fiber meals are best to help deter constipation.
Avoid the dishes. Use paper plates, plastic ware, and paper cups so there will be fewer dishes to do. You should not be bending over the sink to wash the dishes or stacking the dishwasher right after a fusion.
Stock up on t-shirts. If your doctor will prescribe a postoperative brace, make sure you have plenty of clean, well-fitted cotton t-shirts or tank tops to wear under your brace. Ideally, you can wear the brace before the surgery to get used to it.
Buy hand sanitizer. A member on our forums commented that it hurt to wash her hands after spine surgery because it requires a back and forth movement of the arms. Try using hand sanitizer instead.
Raise your bed. You may want to raise your bed up a bit to make it easier to get into and out of. You can place sturdy storage bins under the bed frame to act as blocks.
Subcontract the laundry. You won't be able to do laundry, or any chores that require bending or reaching, for a while. Put someone else in charge of the laundry, even if that means you have to pay extra to send it out to a dry cleaner with a laundry service.
Don't trip! Remove anything you might trip on, such as throw rugs. Try to make sure someone else is responsible for picking up shoes and other items you could trip on while you're getting used to walking around.
Every patient's experience recovering from spine surgery will be different depending on the clinical situation.
Be sure to ask your doctor about what to expect so you can prepare accordingly. And remember, nurses are often more knowledgeable than the surgeon when it comes to knowing what will help with your recovery.
Insider's tip: Many people undergoing lumbar fusion surgery from the front (e.g. an ALIF) instead of from the back, have much less pain and many are able to go home from the hospital the same day as the surgery.