The physical changes of aging are impossible to avoid, but living a fulfilling life as you age is possible thanks to the various treatments available. While you may not be familiar with the condition, spinal stenosis affects a good portion of the population who are 50 years of age or older. Characterized by a narrowing of the spaces between your spine, stenosis can be incredibly painful. In addition to the overall discomfort, spinal stenosis also reduces mobility. Fortunately, surgical procedures are available to treat spinal stenosis, reducing pain and allowing you to live a mobile lifestyle.
Known as a laminectomy, this surgical procedure involves removing a portion of bone from spine to create additional room. The additional space takes pressure off the nerves in the spine, resulting in less pain and increased mobility. Of course, proper recovery after the laminectomy is essential. Using this guide on recovery, you will be part of the 70 to 80 percent of patients who have successfully treated their spinal stenosis with a laminectomy.
It is important to note that a laminectomy is an invasive surgical procedure, so post-op pain is completely normal. Your doctor may prescribe one or more of the following prescription medications to ease your pain at home:
- Muscle Relaxers – Muscle spasms are common in patients with spinal stenosis. Unfortunately, you may also experience these spasms after your surgery. A muscle relaxer can reduce the quantity of back spasms, resulting in less discomfort.
- Opioids – You will feel pain in your lower back after surgery, but this pain is manageable with prescription opioids. Since these medications are extremely strong and effective, they can be habit-forming. Consult your doctor about proper dosage.
- NSAIDs – Your doctor may also suggest a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, or NSAID, such as ibuprofen. Ibuprofen reduces inflammation, which eases your pain and overall discomfort after surgery. These medications are available by prescription or over-the-counter.
It is important to note that these medications have many side effects. In many cases, you will experience severe nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, and fatigue, so you should not operate machinery or vehicles while taking these medications. To relieve pain after your surgery without the use of medications, consult a chiropractor. Chiropractors offer a variety of services including spinal manipulation and physical therapy, which can be healthy ways of reducing your post-operative pain.
Home Equipment and Aids
The goal of a laminectomy is to relieve spinal stenosis pain and increase your mobility. However, you will not have an improved mobility immediately after your surgery, so certain aids can be beneficial. Of course, hiring an in-home nurse is not always financially feasible. To ensure a safe, effective recovery after your laminectomy, consider purchasing a few of these aids:
- Walker – Walking long distances or for long periods of time is not recommended after your surgery. Consider taking short walks within the first 2 weeks of your recovery. A walker is a great option for increasing your comfort and security level.
- Chair Lifts – Getting in and out of your favorite chair was most likely difficult before your surgery, but it can also be challenging after your surgery. Lifts are easy to install directly under your chair or chair cushion. If preferred, purchase a power-lifting chair.
- Bed Wedge – A foam wedge on your bed, behind your pillows, is a great option for supporting your back while in bed.
- Specialized Toilet Seat – Install a specialized seat on your toilet for easy mobility in the bathroom. The seat fits directly over your existing toilet seat but offers comfortable hand grips to safely position yourself for using the restroom.
- Bathing Bars/Seats – Install safety bars in your shower to prevent accidental slips and falls. Safety bars should have rubber grips for an easier grasp. Bathing seats are also recommended. These seats can move easily in and out of your shower stall or tub, so they do not have to become permanent fixtures. These bathing aids ensure you have privacy and independence after your laminectomy.
Choosing surgery for treating your spinal stenosis is a great decision. However, proper recovery is key to your success. Using these tips, you can effectively recovery from a laminectomy and live a comfortable, mobile life. For more information, contact a business such as Chiropractor Plus.