Living with spinal stenosis can be challenging. From the ongoing pain and limited mobility to the emotional stress and anxiety you will experience, it is easy to see how the condition can wreak havoc on your well-being. Many people live each day with the overwhelming condition, but surgery can help treat spinal stenosis. A lumbar laminectomy decreases pain and improves mobility in 70 to 80 percent of patients who choose the surgery. However, proper recovery is necessary to ensure the surgery is a success. With this guide and the help of your surgeon and physical therapist, you will understand the imperative steps to take after your lumbar laminectomy.
In the Hospital
You will be under general anesthesia during the lumbar laminectomy. Because of this, you will be required to remain in the hospital for a few days after the surgery.
During the actual procedure, your surgeon will remove a section of your vertebrae on the spinal cord, or the lamina. By removing this section, the space around the spinal cord is enlarged. This extra space reduces the pressure and pain associated with spinal stenosis.
You will experience some post-surgical pain, so your surgeon will administer intravenous pain medications. To reduce the risk of blood clots, your surgeon will suggest some light walking a few hours after your lumbar laminectomy. Physical therapists will help you walk in the hospital. It is important to walk a few steps every hour, increasing the number of steps you are able to take with each walk.
Before undergoing your surgery, you should prepare your home for your recovery. Consider investing in a few mobility aids.
Getting in and out of a chair or bed can be challenging after spinal surgery, but a lift chair can help reduce this strain. In addition, relaxing in the lift chair allows you to elevate your legs to improve blood circulation. This will decrease your risk of dangerous blood clots, which are common after surgery.
You should walk every day once you are home, as well. Walking will improve blood circulation, reduce pain and inflammation, and improve your mobility after the lumbar laminectomy.
For the most effective and efficient recovery, make sure to schedule time to exercise with your physical therapist. Light walking, swimming, yoga, and weight-training exercises will ensure a successful recovery after spinal stenosis surgery. Physical therapy after a lumbar laminectomy will help you in the following ways:
- Improved Mood – Many patients experience anxiety and depression after a major surgery. Exercise is proven to increase your body's production of endorphins, which will improve your mood in a natural manner.
- Decreased Pain – Physical therapists can also teach you how to manage your post-operative pain using holistic treatments, such as hydrotherapy and massage. For more information, check out a website like http://www.nrothandrehab.com.
- Increased Strength – Spinal stenosis affects your ability to move, which can make you weak over time. After your surgery, you will need to rebuild your strength. Your physical therapist will design a series of exercises that will strengthen your muscles, joints, and ligaments.
- Weight Management – Recovering from the lumbar laminectomy can take a longer time if you are overweight, since it will be even more difficult to move and exercise. Exercising with your physical therapist will help you lose excess weight.
- Improved Flexibility – You may experience muscle tension after your surgery. This tension can cause the muscles to place extra pressure on the spine, reducing your ability to heal without pain after your surgery. Your physical therapist will use exercises to improve your flexibility, which will decrease muscle tension.
Spinal stenosis is a painful condition, but a lumbar laminectomy can help reduce pain while improving your mobility. Using this guide, you will understand how important proper recovery is after spinal stenosis surgery.