Has the doctor authorized by the workers’ compensation carrier recommended spinal surgery? If you are facing surgery, it can really be a scary time. I know a lot of surgeons in Alabama who are very good at operating on patients but not so good at explaining what can be a difficult process of recovery. So, when I see practical advice from surgeons, I like to share it on this site.
A group of spinal surgeons in California provides four practical tips for patients after undergoing spinal surgery. Their practical advice for patients recovering from back surgery is:
- Don’t Smoke — I know. This is obvious advice. You’ve heard it from doctors, friends, and family. Smoking is bad. It is bad for you in a lot of ways. However, it is especially bad for you after a spine surgery. As these surgeons explain, smoking affects the healing process and can cause a spinal fusion to fail. In my law practice, I have represented many clients with failed back fusions. These clients have tremendous difficulty functioning and often suffer chronic pain problems. Clients suffering failed back syndrome can have long-term problems returning to work.
- Exercise — Again, this advice is obvious. However, I can tell you that this is one of the biggest issues I have seen in my law practice. I have had clients who felt so much immediate improvement after surgery, that they tried to resume all normal activities without continuing their therapy and exercise program. Other clients still hurt and lose faith in their medical treatment. Either way, it is a bad idea to not follow the therapy or exercise program prescribed by the doctor. The doctor’s prescribed exercise program is designed to improve your back muscles.
- Follow-up With the Doctor — In workers’ compensation cases, physician follow-up is always a problem. Often, the insurance company is at fault for not approving a visit. Sometimes, the insurance company fails to schedule follow-ups or, worse, fails to tell the injured worker about the appointment. Follow-up visits are important. Your surgeon needs to monitor your healing and recovery.
- Weight Gain — Weight is a major issue. Before your injury, you were active. You went to work daily. You did things with your family. Suddenly, you were hurt and could no longer function well. Many of my clients experience major weight gain following their injury. Weight gain can cause further strain on your injured back.
by Jeff Blackwell