Spinal Surgery Recovery: What to Expect

At Dr. Louis Keppler & Associates, our expert providers have collectively helped thousands of people successfully navigate the process of having spinal surgery. We understand that the prospect can be scary, and that you’re probably thinking about surgery itself and the eventual outcome. But there’s one more thing you should consider, and that’s recovery

Waking up

If your procedure requires general anesthesia, you wake up immediately after surgery in a recovery area. A nurse is there with you, and you’re likely to feel groggy and disoriented. You may stay in recovery for a few hours, or until your vital signs are normal and things are as expected. 

There are many different types of spinal surgeries. Often we perform minimally-invasive, outpatient procedures, which means you go home the same day. Sometimes, though a hospital stay is required. Either way, you’ll need someone to drive you home, and if possible, it’s good to have someone stay with you for a little while. 

Manage the pain

We’ll make sure you have the appropriate prescriptions you need to control the pain. Take your medications as prescribed, and try to make sure you don’t run out. Gaps in pain management can lead to problems. 

Pain can interfere with healing and make life absolutely miserable. You may feel overly emotional and moody -- plus be hurting. If you find that your medication isn’t helping as much as you expect, let us know, because pain management immediately after surgery is critical.

Expect to be tired, and try to get good sleep

Surgery is traumatic for your body. You’re going to need time to heal, and you should expect to feel fatigued during that process. Pushing yourself inhibits healing and could cause setbacks. 

We can help you learn how to get into and out of bed, as well as what the best sleep position is for you after your surgery. It’s important to get good sleep, and also to avoid injury in trying to rest.

Enlist help

You’re going to need help with basic household tasks in the days and weeks after your surgery. It’s a good idea to make a list of your normal chores and let your friends and family help you.

You can do some things before your procedure to ease your recovery. For example, you may want to have some meals prepped and in the freezer. That way all you need to think about is thawing and heating dinner instead of cooking and cleaning up after. 

Most of us are lucky enough to be surrounded by friends and family members who are happy to help. We may not be comfortable in asking, but when you’ve undergone something as major as spinal surgery, a little help is important. 

Physical therapy and exercise

Your situation is unique to you, but we encourage all patients to move. We may refer you to physical therapy after your surgery -- sometimes right away, sometimes a few weeks following your procedure -- and if we do, it’s important for you to go. 

Physical therapy can be critical to recovery, because it helps you rebuild your strength and mobility. If we don’t send you to physical therapy, we’ll show you the exercises you need to do, and help you understand your limits. 

Our goal is to help you live the fullest and healthiest life you can. If that means you need surgery in order to live with less pain and more mobility, we’ll explain every step of the way to you. Any time you have questions, call our office in Independence, Ohio, to book an appointment, and we’ll answer them.

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