Have you been diagnosed with lumbar spinal stenosis? This debilitating ailment can make your life miserable. It is painful and sometimes even the strongest pain medications don't give much relief.
Spinal stenosis is caused by degenerative changes and usually affects those who suffer from arthritis. The degenerative changes cause the joints of the vertebrae to enlarge pressing on nerves and causing pain.
Should you and your doctor decide that lumbar laminectomy surgery is your best option, you will want to know what to expect as far as recovery.
Immediately Following Surgery
Some people go home the same day of their surgery; others require a day or two in the hospital. No matter where you are, you will likely be asked to walk a few hours of surgery.
When walking, stand straight and tighten your abdominal muscles. This will help minimize pain and support your spine.
Helpful Recovery Tips
Your overall recovery time will depend on the extent of your surgery. It's difficult to put a set time or one's recovery. Some patients require two vertebrae to be fused together by a bone graft. If you have a fusion, your recovery time may be longer than that of someone that doesn't require one.
Your doctor will give you specific post-surgery instructions. In addition to what you are given here are a few helpful tips:
Listen to your body. If you feel fatigued, rest. Don't push yourself.
Have someone with you for at least the first week, post-surgery. You may need help with things such as getting dressed and bathing. Make sure you have someone you feel comfortable with to help with these tasks.
When doing things such as getting dressed and other allowed functions, let pain be your guide. If necessary, continue to have someone assist you, and try again the next time.
If you are a smoker, try to quit before your surgery. Smoking inhibits wound and bone healing.
If you are having trouble sleeping, ask your doctor for a few different sleeping positions to try. Some recommend sleeping on your side, knees bent with a pillow between them. You might want to try a pillow behind your back for added support.
Tighten your abdominal muscles when turning in bed, sitting up from a lying position, standing from a sitting position, and when going from standing to sitting. This helps strengthen your back and relieves back pressure.
Walking is going to be one of the key points of your recovery. Start off doing short distances and build up. You are better off doing a few short walks a day than pushing yourself and doing too much all at once.
Most of all, follow your doctor's instructions. Contact a doctor who specializes in spine surgery, such as one from Blue Valley Surgical Associates, for further assistance.