How To Prevent The Need For A Second Back Surgery

Category: Spine Surgery | Author: Stefano Sinicropi

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Most patients hope that spine surgery is a one-and-done deal, but that doesn’t just happen by luck. In order to prevent the need for a second surgery, patients need to do a self evaluation of the activities and habits that landed them in this position in the first place and make appropriate changes. Below, we share some tips for helping to ensure you don’t need to undergo a second surgery for your spinal issues.

Preventing The Need For Another Back Operation

These tips are more aimed at people who have undergone elective spinal surgery procedures for conditions like herniated discs, spinal disc degeneration or spinal stenosis, as these are conditions that tend to occur more often as we get older. For patients who undergo spine surgery as a result of physical trauma, there may be less you can do to control whether or not you need a follow up operation down the road, but you can still glean something from these tips. Here are some things you can do to prevent a second spinal surgery.

  1. Follow Your Rehab Plan Closely – Rehabilitation is how you make the fullest recovery, so you really need to commit to your care plan. If you skip physical therapy or wound care guidelines, your recovery may hit a roadblock or be derailed by an infection. Recovery is a crucial time period where you’re establishing strength, stability and range of motion in a weakened area, and if you don’t work hard to improve these aspects, you’re at a heightened risk for needing a secondary surgery.
  2. Evaluate Lifestyle Choices – For patients with disc issues or spinal degeneration, sometimes these processes are sped up by our lifestyle choices. Poor eating habits that lead to weight gain and tobacco use that inhibits healthy blood flow can lead to weakened spinal structures or speed up the degenerative process. If you keep doing the same things that led to the need for surgery in the first place, you shouldn’t be surprised if you need another operation in the not-so-distant future.
  3. Posture Care – Whether your poor posture habits played a role in your need for surgery or it had little to do with it, minding your posture is key after a spinal operation. Poor posture can overload certain areas of your spine, which is problematic if this area has already been weakened by a spinal surgery. Or, let’s say you just had a spinal fusion procedure. Because those vertebrae are now fused together, it is less flexible and therefore less able to appropriately disperse stress. The vertebrae near the fusion site will be asked to handle more stress, which is why it’s so important to help decrease this load by having good posture.
  4. Exercise – Finally, one important way to help reduce your need for a second spine surgery is to get regular exercise. Physical activity helps to keep our muscles, joints and ligaments working optimally, and if we ignore these structures, they can atrophy and be ill-prepared to handle tasks necessary for movement. This doesn’t mean you need to run five miles a day, simply find an exercise routine that works for you. Maybe that involves swimming laps three times a week, joining a yoga studio or simply walking on the treadmill a couple times a week. Find a routine that works and stick to it to help keep your spine healthy.

For more tips, or for assistance with your spinal issue, reach out to Dr. Sinicropi’s office today.

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