Menu Patient Education Materials Conditions Common Back Injuries Neck and Upper Back Middle Back Lower Back Symptoms Back Pain Numbness Leg Pain FAQs Treatments & Technology Back Exercises Back Pain: Caregiver Information Intracept Mazor X Physical Therapy Spine Surgery Recovery Taking Care of a Loved One after Back Surgery If a friend or loved one is preparing to undergo back surgery, then chances are you have already watched them experience pain that impacts their daily lives. Fortunately, back surgery can be an effective way to treat back pain when conservative treatments have not managed pain. However, recovering from back surgery requires time, patience and a commitment from patients and their caregivers. As a caregiver, you can help your loved one recover from back surgery with a little preparation before surgery and a willingness to support them as their body heals. Here are a few tips to help improve the recovery process: 1. Prepare your home. It is important to make sure there is a safe and convenient area in the home where your loved one can recover from surgery. It should include a comfortable chair and a table where items can be easily reached. Spend time removing any potential objects that could create a tripping hazard, including items like area rugs and décor or items on the floor. Have necessary supplies or equipment ready before your friend or family member arrives home after surgery, such as medical supplies needed to clean and cover incisions, assistive devices like a walker, cane or brace, or equipment needed for showering or using the bathroom. 2. Check items off your to-do list before surgery. It may take a little time, but planning and completing chores, errands and tasks around the house before surgery can help you relax and assist your loved one during his or her recovery time. Enlist other friends or family members to help with things like cooking freezer meals, cutting the grass, going to the grocery store or any other errands or tasks that need to be completed. 3. Make a recovery game plan. If you can, attend doctor appointments prior to surgery so you can better understand precautions that will need to be taken as well as discharge instructions. Spend time reviewing back surgery discharge instructions, or if your loved one is undergoing cervical spine surgery, discharge instructions for neck surgery. Together, you and your loved one can make a game plan for recovery. The plan may include daily walks down the street together, doing a puzzle or watching a movie or streaming a show you have both wanted to watch. Find ways you can make recovery enjoyable while still meeting his or her recovery and treatment goals. 4. Avoid temptation to do everything. There will be activities your loved one must refrain from after surgery. That includes bending, twisting and lifting. The surgeon and physical therapist will also discuss a safe plan to return to normal activities. As a caregiver, it is important that you help your loved one avoid prohibited types of activities. It’s also important you encourage and empower him or her to do the activities that are safe and necessary for recovering from back surgery. That includes encouraging movement, such as getting up out of bed or a chair and walking around the house; helping with simple chores or activities as allowed by a physical therapist; and following through on daily exercises your loved one’s medical team has provided. 5. Take care of yourself. It can be easy to sacrifice caring for yourself when focused on caring for someone else. Be sure to take time for yourself as you help your loved one on the road to recovery. Below are a few simple things you can do: Ask another friend or family member to visit with your loved one so you can take a break and get out of the house Exercise Get enough sleep every night Eat healthy, including plenty of fruits, vegetables and protein Treat yourself to a little something. It could be a new book you’ve wanted to read, a massage or a new movie. Get answers to your questions about spine surgery today. If you have questions about the back pain your loved one is experiencing, or how to help someone recover from back surgery, contact the Spine Center at St. Elizabeth Florence today. Our team can help address your questions. Call us today at (859) 212-7000.