Posts Tagged post-operative
The cervical vertebrae (C1-C7) are the first seven vertebrae connecting the base of the skull to the rest of the spine. Like the rest of the spine, between each cervical vertebra there is a shock-absorbing pad called a disk. These disks, along with the structures of the cervical vertebrae, allow the human neck to be a highly mobile region of the body.
Structurally, the first two cervical vertebrae (C1-C2, or the atlas and axis, respectively) are substantially different due to their role in supporting the weight of the human skull. As is the case with the thicker, stronger lumbar vertebrae at the base of the spine, cervical vertebrae are specialized to fulfill their function of granting people painless, continuous mobility of the neck and upper spine. Cervical vertebrae are further supported by a network of tendons, muscles, and ligaments which all work in tandem to provide additional support.
Unfortunately, neck pain is one of the most common causes for people to miss work. Long hours of stationary positioning (typical in office work) can cause chronic tension and deprive neck muscles of oxygen. This in turn can cause spasms, which can compress nerves that run through the spinal canal. Since the neck is so highly mobile and painless operation is a crucial component of quality of life, patients are advised to take measures to reduce the incidence of neck pain. Regular exercise—even simply pausing to roll the neck and shoulders once an hour—can restore oxygen and nutrition to neck muscles. Light aerobic activity is also recommended for 5-10 minutes per hour of stationary work.
Should neck pain become chronic, surgical procedures may be prescribed. Patients should be especially mindful of neck pain that shoots down into the arms or legs, as this may indicate nerve damage. Be certain to obtain thorough medical consultation, however, given that surgery on highly mobile regions of the body can have negative long-term effects. Healthy dieting, nutritional supplements, and regular installments of physical therapy can help aid patient recovery during post-operative care. Several post-operative checkups may also be necessary to monitor any structural changes within the cervical spine.
Post Operative Spinal Care
Depending on the seriousness of the back surgery, patients often have a wide variety of physical therapy treatments available. Physical rehabilitation can be further augmented by several different medications, including muscle relaxants, pain medication, and steroid injections.
Patients may also be required to take antibiotics to guard against infection. Spinal surgical procedures typically require an incision which can vary in length and depth depending on the patient’s condition. Patients should check the incision periodically for any indications of infection—these signs can include redness and / or the appearance of pus around the wound. Follow-up visits to your physician and spinal specialist are also necessary. Physicians will monitor the patient’s progression along previously established guidelines for procedural recovery. Adjustments to each individual patient’s needs are then made based on age, physical rehabilitation, weight, and other factors. New courses of treatment can then be continuously recommended based on the findings.
Though physical rehabilitation is a crucial aspect of post-operative care for some back surgery patients, many physicians advise a period of mandatory rest that differs depending on the procedure. Patients must allow the spine adequate time to heal prior to exercising even in moderation. If physical rehabilitation is undertaken too quickly, patients run the risk of disturbing the adjustments made by the surgery—which can then severely damage their recovery, possibly even making further corrective surgeries necessary. Post-operative care during the rest period often includes restrictions on how much a patient can bend, lift, walk, or even move. These restrictions are especially important after surgical procedures that implant pins or other artificial devices into the spine. The body must be given time to adjust to these foreign bodies. If patients follow these steps, however, recovery is normally assured.
Spinal Surgery: Reality and Myths
Spinal surgery can be one of the most costly, physically taxing methods of treatment on the healthcare market today. Fortunately, many patients overestimate the need for such serious measures. Many types of neck and back pain can be addressed and resolved with other methods of treatment, such as physical therapy, pain medication, exercise, and healthy dieting. These are typically the courses of action prescribed by physicians as well, given that spinal surgery may have unintended side effects on the patient’s daily life.
Some patients, however, will find that their pain and / or structural problems are not resolved by these treatment plans. With advancements in modern medical technology, there are now dozens of different spinal surgical procedures available to correct many types of structural problems. Disk degeneration, spinal tumors, bone spurs, spinal stenosis—all of these disorders and others may necessitate spinal surgery should they have a substantial negative impact on a patient’s quality of life.
For example, patients who have advanced degeneration of the spinal disks
(the shock-absorbing pads between our vertebrae that break down naturally over time) may be candidates for artificial disk implantation. During this procedure, an artificial disk mimicking the body’s natural shock absorber is implanted in the spine. Spinal fusion, a procedure that fuses vertebrae thus eliminating the possibility of further damaging the disks between them, may also be an available option. Patients are advised to seek thorough medical consultation when considering spinal surgery. Several imaging techniques, such as CT scans, X-rays, and magnetic resonance imaging, may be prescribed to evaluate courses of action. Specialists may be referred to address problems that have not been corrected through physical rehabilitation.
Post-operative care is crucial for patients who have undergone spinal surgery. Many surgical procedures require long recovery times with periods of mandatory rest and physical rehabilitation. Several subsequent post-operative visits to primary care physicians and specialists are necessary to monitor the patient’s recovery.