Steps to Take to Speed Post-Surgery Healing
In most cases, surgery isn’t the final stop on your road to recovery from injury or illness. What you do before and after surgery can also be critical to your long-term prognosis. Your body needs time to adjust after surgery, and will do much of the healing work itself. But the actions you take (or don’t take) can go a long way towards speeding or slowing your recovery and getting you back to feeling your best.
It’s crucial that you follow your doctor’s specific orders for recovering from your particular procedure. In addition, here are some general guidelines for how you can speed the healing process. Before and after surgery, stop smoking. Smoking impairs wound healing.
Get Moving…But Don’t Overdo It
In most cases, it’s important to get moving shortly after surgery. Staying in bed can bring on a variety of problems, from blood clots to pressure ulcers (“bed sores”) to an overall weakening of your muscles. Moving helps aid digestion, too.
That being said, avoid doing too much before you’re ready. Follow doctor’s orders as to what level of activity is recommended and what to avoid (for example, you might be asked to avoid lifting heavy weights, elevating your heart rate, or driving). If you have specific questions about your regular exercise routine, ask!
Mind Your Meds
While you certainly don’t want to overdo pain medication, and should limit yourself to just what you need, avoiding it all together can be problematic in some cases. Pain can interfere with sleep and appetite, and make it uncomfortable to get moving. If you have concerns about addiction or side effects, talk to your doctor about pain treatment alternatives rather than trying to tough it out. Pain medication can also cause constipation.
Keep a Water Bottle Handy
Some patients feel queasy after anesthesia, and some post-op medications can cause loss of appetite. Nevertheless, it’s important to eat a balanced diet to help you regain your strength. And be sure to drink plenty of fluids, especially water. Proper hydration helps muscles and organs heal more quickly.
Don’t Skip the Rehab
While not required after all procedures, if your doctor recommends any kind of rehabilitation such as physical therapy (PT) or occupational therapy (OT), don’t skip it. It can be essential to a strong, safe recovery. And even in cases where no formal PT is suggested, your doctor may have recommendations for exercises you can do or lifestyle changes you can make to speed your recovery.
You’ve invested the time and energy into having surgery. Now you can make the right choices to maximize your return on investment. At Muskegon Surgical Associates, our surgeons are committed to your health before, during, and after your procedure. Contact us for more information.