December 6, 2019
If you’ve had surgery in the past, or have one coming up, you know the importance of a quick, effective recovery. While there’s no easy way to get around putting in the hard work required of recovery, there are things you can do to make the process go a little faster.
Don’t stay in bed.
As soon as your doctor says you can get up and move around, you should. Listen to what your doctor says is a safe range of motion/level of activity, but get up and walk around as soon as possible. Staying in bed can lead to potential issues that may be more complicated than what you had surgery on in the first place. These complications may include weakened muscles, blood clots, pressure ulcers, or pulmonary embolism (a blockage in one of the pulmonary arteries in your lungs caused by blood clots that travel from the legs or other parts of the body).
Take all medication prescribed to you.
It’s true that certain pain medications can be addictive or cause other side effects such as nausea or constipation, but avoiding medications altogether is dangerous. Your doctor’s goal is to get you off meds as quickly as possible, but not before your pain is at a manageable level. If you’re in pain, odds are you won’t want to eat or move around much. Both of these are crucial to your recovery, and the lack of sleep or food will make it harder for your body to heal.
Don’t do too much too soon.
Even though getting up and moving around as soon as possible is important, you should also listen to your body and rest when you need to. For example, if you got hurt jumping, avoid that motion until you’re healed and can build strength back up. Listen to what your doctor says and don’t push yourself.
This also includes going back to work and driving too early. Many people try to keep working from home right after surgery, which is bad for both your physical and mental health. Your body needs to focus on recovering, and the pressure of working while not back to 100% functionality could cause you to make poor work choices. The same goes for driving: your reaction time may be slowed, raising your chance of getting in an accident.
Go to rehab/physical therapy.
Working with a physical therapist is one of the safest, most effective ways to speed up your recovery. While you may think you can get through recovery on your own, you could be doing something that is actually hindering your healing. For some surgeries, a few sessions may be all it takes to get you on the right path to success. However, major surgeries may require weeks of physical therapy to ensure you build your strength back up.
Think ahead to recovery at home.
Make sure your pantry is stocked with at least a few days’ worth of meals before you go into the hospital for surgery. If you have stairs in your home and won’t be able to climb up and down them, set up a makeshift bedroom on your lower floor. Ask your doctor for an estimated recovery time so you can know how much preparation you should do. You may need to rent specific equipment to make living at home easier until your full mobility returns. Some simple planning can make all the difference!
While all of these tips are important, reach out to your doctor to ask what else you can do to ensure recovery goes smoothly. If you have an upcoming surgery at Beacon, read why you shouldn’t eat before surgery here! If you’re interested in scheduling an appointment at Beacon, click here or contact us today.