Surgery can be stressful for many people and there’s the worry about the actual procedure and then concern about what happens once the anesthesia wears off. While in the care of your surgical team, they will do everything in their power to ensure that you are comfortable and well cared for, but once you leave the hospital, your healing is in your hands.
Post-op recovery times can vary greatly depending on the procedure performed. However, some recovery tips, such as the benefits of post-surgical physiotherapy, proper nutrition, and time to rest, are pretty universal. This blog will cover several ways that you can improve your post-surgical recovery and get back to living life faster.
Giving your body time to heal is crucial to your post-surgical recovery. While it may be tempting to jump right back into your routine, it may ultimately end up extending your recovery period or aggravating your injury. Our bodies do the most healing while we sleep. Even if you are traditionally a night owl or an earlier riser, experts suggest getting at least seven to nine hours of sleep per night with a few naps scattered throughout the day.
While rest is essential to your recovery, moving and light exercise are equally as important. Exercise, even light exercise, stimulates blood flow, delivering much-needed oxygen and nutrients to the skin tissue, which can help accelerate wound healing and prevent scar tissue buildup while keeping muscles from atrophying.
Post-surgical physiotherapy is overseen by trained physiotherapists who have undergone extensive medical training and education in the field. Not only are physiotherapists more than qualified to help manage your physical recovery, but they are also highly skilled diagnosticians able to tailor a plan designed to meet the evolving needs and capabilities of the patient. Many surgeons recommend patients participate in post-surgical physiotherapy as soon as 24 hours post-op as part of their recovery plan. Many patients meet with their post-surgical physiotherapist before surgery, so they are ready to go immediately following surgery.
Food is fuel, and what you put into your body can significantly impact your post-surgical recovery. During your post-surgical recovery period, it is essential to load up on the nutrients your body needs to heal itself, including plenty of lean protein, vitamin C, iron, and fibre. Proper hydration is also key, but experts recommend skipping sports drinks that contain high sodium levels and can cause excess water retention and swelling.
It’s also vital to know what not to put into your body while recovering from surgery. Highly processed and sugary foods not only lack the nutrients your body needs but can also contribute to constipation and inflammation. Your post-surgical physiotherapist can offer suggestions if you need help putting together a clean, nutrient-dense meal plan.
Your post-op surgical plan will include crucial instructions for at-home wound care, medication, and activity, and it’s vital to follow these recommendations or risk jeopardizing your recovery carefully.
Keeping your incision site clean is imperative to avoiding infection. Unless your surgical team instructs otherwise, you can wash your incision area with warm, soapy water, gently removing dry scabs as you go. Pat dry and apply a clean dressing, avoiding restrictive clothing that rubs against the wound.
It is also imperative to take any prescription medication exactly as prescribed. Patients often want to avoid painkillers because they can have undesirable side effects like constipation and drowsiness, however, pain can cause you to restrict your ability to move, eat, and sleep, all of which are crucial to a speedy recovery.