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You will be monitored closely in the recovery room before being transferred to your room. The health care team will answer your questions, and coordinate and provide care related to your health condition.
You can drink something after your intervention as soon as abdominal sounds (“gurgling” or flatulence) start up again. The nurse will regularly assess the pain with you and will adjust your medical treatment based on the pain's intensity. However, do not hesitate to report any pain or discomfort to the team.
For the first 48 hours, the nurse will test sensitivity and motor skills in your limbs every four hours, day and night.
After the operation, you will lie on your back according to the surgeon’s orders. Then, a member of the health care team will help you to turn on your side, as in the position shown below.
Usually, you can eat the next morning, if the neurosurgeon agrees, depending on the recovery of intestinal functions. Based on the neurosurgeon’s advice, you may be positioned in the bed with your head slightly elevated (30 degrees) without using the bed pulleys. A radiological exam (X-ray or scan) will be performed either during the surgery or within the first 48 hours after the intervention, but always before the first time you get up.
The first time you get up, a nurse or physical therapist will help you sit on the edge of the bed and then in the chair. Then you will be accompanied to the sink to wash up.
Depending on your intervention, the doctor may need to prescribe a corset or neck brace for you to wear to reinforce the maintenance of your spinal column during mobilization.
“The most painful thing in the first few days is movement. Getting up, moving in bed or sitting down was difficult. The physical therapists quickly taught me how to get up by using a specific method. They gave me an illustrated brochure that was very well designed to show good postures and to avoid triggering pain in the areas that were operated on. Over the course of a few days, the pain was well managed. I was monitored, including throughout the night.”
Marc, 55 years old
These exercises help to protect your back when you get up. It is important to do them throughout your rehabilitation.
In case of a cervical spine intervention
In case of a lumbar spine intervention
You can take a shower (making sure you don’t wet the bandage(s)) and a carer will assist you with the hygiene of your back.
The physical therapist will accompany you to take a walk down the hallway. You will do the exercises with them and they will instruct you about the movements and postures you should use.
The movements explained below will strengthen your back and abdominal muscles.
Press on the bed with your head, both of your arms, and your left foot, and hold your right leg straight while exhaling; then relax your muscles while inhaling. Repeat the same exercise by pressing your right foot and holding your left leg straight. If possible, repeat each exercise 10 times on each side.
Push your right knee with your left hand while exhaling; then relax your muscles while inhaling. Repeat the same exercise with your other leg. If possible, repeat the exercise 10 times on each side.
As soon as possible, the physical therapist will accompany you to walk up and down the stairs.