You will be given a pain reliever and a muscle relaxant by prescription at the time of your discharge. Take them as you need them and call the office if you have any adverse reactions.
You may shower two days after surgery. Simply remove the gauze and tape covering your wound, but leave the small white strips or staples if you have them. They will generally stay on until you return for your first visit after surgery. Do not submerge the wound under water in a bathtub or pool for approximately two to three weeks. After showering, you should place another dressing over the wound. Some blood-tinged drainage is normal after surgery but should stop within a few days. If your surgery is more extensive, as in a laminectomy and/or fusion, you may shower once drainage has stopped.
In general, you may eat and drink whatever you like. Nutrition is important as part of the healing process and a well balanced diet is encouraged. Eating a snack with your medications will also decrease the chance of nausea.
You may walk around as much as you can tolerate. This is the best form of physical therapy after surgery. Going up and down stairs is generally fine. The nerves are sometimes swollen and irritated after surgery so do not be alarmed if you have some numbness or minor pain in the legs with activity. This should get better with time. Driving is generally restricted, depending on the extent of your surgery and how comfortable you are after surgery. If you are comfortable riding in a vehicle, this is perfectly fine. Heavy lifting, bending, pushing and pulling over 10 pounds is discouraged for approximately six weeks. In general, recreational activities such as golfing, working out in the gym, swimming, running and aerobics are resumed about six weeks after surgery.
In sedentary job situations, where no heavy lifting or exertion is required, some people can return to work within a few days to a few weeks. However, moderate to heavy labor jobs require restrictions or a brief absence from work that can range from three to six weeks after surgery. Obviously, this is very dependent on your job situation and your particular surgery.
Please call the office if you have any questions or if you experience any of the following:
Fever greater than 100.5 that does not subside after Tylenol or Advil.
Excessive drainage or redness associated with warmth around your incision.
Severe headaches that are not relieved by medicine.