9 Simple Ways to Improve Your Post Surgery Recovery

9 Simple Ways to Improve Your Post Surgery Recovery

Surgeons perform over 50 million procedures a year, according to the latest data.

Many surgeries are routine and carry little risk. But recovery is not without its struggles.

Are you scheduled for surgery? Some surgeries have a quick recovery time. But other surgeries are tougher and recovery is an uphill battle.

Ease the burden of surgical recovery by following these useful post-surgery recovery tips.

1. Listen to Your Doctor’s Post-Op Instructions

Before your surgery, your doctor should give you a list of post-operative instructions. Take a careful look at the instructions before you have surgery. Make sure you understand them.

If you’ve had general anesthesia, you won’t remember what the doctor tells you after the surgery. A trusted family member or friend should bring you home. Make sure the person understands all the post-op instructions.

2. Watch for Infection

Do your best to avoid infection. Wash your hands often throughout the day, especially after using the bathroom. That doesn’t mean a quick rinse under cold water.

Use lukewarm water and soap. Scrub your hands for at least 30 seconds. Sing the Alphabet Song a couple of times through while washing. Then you’ll know you spent enough time washing!

If your doctor prescribed antibiotics after surgery, take them. Make sure you take the entire prescription. Not finishing your antibiotics sometimes causes antibiotic-resistant strains of infection in your body.

Keep your wound clean. If you’re allowed to shower, use soap and water. Don’t scrub hard. Use gentle motions. Make sure your incision stays dry once you’re out of the shower.

Refrain from ointments or lotions on the incision site. This reduces the risk of irritation and infection.

Signs of infection are:

  • Chills and fever
  • Noxious odor from the wound
  • The wound is hot, painful, or sore
  • Pus or drainage
  • Swelling and redness of the incision
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If you suspect an infection, call your doctor or go to the hospital immediately. Err on the side of caution. Your doctor won’t mind ruling out an infection.

3. Gentle Movement

You’re tired and sore from the surgery. The anesthesia left you woozy. You’re afraid you’ll hurt yourself. These are all normal reactions.

But don’t let them keep you in bed.

While a lot of rest is good, complete immobilization is bad. Don’t stay in bed. Lying in bed for too long puts you at risk for other problems.

These problems include:

  • Muscle atrophy (weakening)
  • Bedsores
  • Pulmonary embolism

Some surgeries can impede mobility for months, such as a spinal decompression surgery. Read more on that to stay safe.

While it’s unlikely you’ll suffer these complications, it’s a good idea to get moving. Keep it gentle. Easy walking is the perfect exercise. Start with a few small, daily walks.

4. Take Your Meds

Take whatever medications your doctor prescribes. From pain medication to antibiotics, taking your meds as directed is important.

5. Stay Ahead of the Pain

It’s important to take your pain medication before the pain gets intolerable. Pain control is a touchy subject. Many patients are afraid of addiction. Others feel weak if they need pain medication.

Controlling pain is harder if you let it build. Being pain-free isn’t the goal since that’s not always possible. But keep your pain at a manageable level. If you’re not in lots of pain, you’ll tolerate physical activity. And that speeds the healing process.

Many pain pills cause constipation. Staying hydrated helps combat the problem.

If you’ve had addiction problems, inform your doctor. She’ll give you pain medications with a low addiction profile.

6. Get Proper Nutrition

Sometimes surgery diminishes the appetite. But good nutrition is paramount after surgery. Stay away from junk foods and sugar. Get plenty of protein through foods such as chicken, tofu, and eggs.

Iron helps form new blood cells. If you had bleeding during surgery, your iron could be low. Eat foods like fish, eggs, and leafy greens such as spinach and kale.

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Eat some fruit daily for vitamin C and fiber. The vitamin C helps with healing. The fiber helps with constipation.

Drink water and hot tea. Avoid sugary drinks like sports drinks and sweetened fruit juice.

7. Take the Appropriate Time Off

Many people don’t give themselves the appropriate amount of time off. Your health is the most important thing you have. Take enough time for proper healing.

People who jump back into work too soon often end up needing more time off. If you don’t rest, eat, and care for yourself right, you could end up back in the hospital.

8. Don’t Drive Until You’re Ready

Driving seems easy. But, after surgery, your reaction times and reflexes slow. It takes time for anesthesia to leave the body.

What seems simple, like hitting the brakes in a hurry, could pop stitches and open your incision. Or you could cause an accident. Keep yourself and others safe by waiting to drive until your doctor says it’s okay.

9. Remember Follow-up Appointments

The surgery’s over, you’ve followed your doctor’s instructions, and you’re ready to go, right? Wrong. Make sure you keep your follow-up appointments! Your doctor checks for proper wound healing.

But he’ll also check your vitals, such as your blood pressure. You could need blood work or x-rays. The doctor will also check on your medications and make sure there’s no infection.

Many types of surgeries require post-op rehabilitation. If you’ve been prescribed rehab, your doctor checks on your progress. Be sure not to miss your rehab and follow-up doctor appointments.

Post-Surgery Recovery

Surgery isn’t fun, but it can be less arduous if you’re prepared. Take note of your post-surgery instructions before surgery when you have time to understand them.

Start with gentle movement after surgery and watch for infection. Take all your medications as directed by your doctor. Never stop taking antibiotics until you’ve run out.

Stay ahead of your pain by addressing it early. Drink plenty of water and eat nutritious foods. Make sure you take enough time off from work and don’t drive until the doctor says it’s okay.

Don’t skip rehabilitation therapy or follow-up appointments. Take good care of your body, and it will reward you with good health! Want to learn more? Read more articles here.

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