In the days and weeks leading up to your spinal surgery, you may have a lot of questions about what your recovery is going to look like. 

As an athlete, your concerns are likely different from the average person who is anticipating surgery. What will rehabilitation look like, and how can you get back to performing at the elite level you are used to? 

Let’s look at some of the things that you need to know before your spinal surgery about what recovery will look like and how elite physical therapy can aid your rehabilitation. 

1. Pack for the hospital with recovery in mind. 

Many spinal surgeries include 2-4 days of inpatient hospital care. When you are packing for the hospital, you will want to prepare accordingly by packing things that will aid in your recovery. The hospital provides a lot of the essentials, but your stay will be more comfortable if you plan ahead. 

You should pack:

  • slip on shoes
  • your own water bottle
  • lip balm or chapstick
  • hand cream
  • foot cream, especially if you will be wearing compression socks after surgery
  • a comfortable robe
  • your own toiletries
  • ear plugs, especially if you are affected by the normal noises of the hospital
  • a back scratcher to help you alleviate itchiness without reaching or stretching

2. Have everything you need at home, ready for you, before the surgery.

You don’t want to be home from the hospital and realize that you need something essential to your recovery. There are specialized items you will likely need, so don’t expect to simply have everything around the house. 

Our patients have reported that these are some of the most important items to them during their earliest recovery days:

  • ice packs and heating pads
  • a reacher/grabber that can help you get what you need without reaching and stretching
  • a mini-fridge so they don’t have to go all the way to the kitchen for the essentials
  • nutritional supplements to make up for anything that is lacking during a time of limited diet
  • a squeeze bottle to help with a no-stretch clean-up after a bowel movement
  • comfy pillows, including wedge and donut-shaped pillows
  • a good shower mat to keep from slipping in the shower
  • bathroom essentials, such as a toilet seat riser, tub rails and a shower seat, and a shower brush
  • a cane or walker to assist with getting on your feet without hurting yourself

3. Sleep is going to be challenging for a while. 

Even if you are someone who can usually fall asleep right after your head hits the pillow, you may need to take some time to adjust to a new reality when it comes to sleep after spinal surgery. An adjustable bed is great, but most people don’t have that after they leave the hospital. 

Using advice from your doctor and physical therapist, you can use pillows, including wedge pillows, to create a comfortable and safe sleeping situation as you recover. 

4. Rehabilitation is a requirement, not an option. 

There is no option to get better on your own after spinal surgery. 

For athletes, rehabilitation is what allows you to not just recover from the pain, but also get back to form. You may feel like you just want to rest after surgery, and rest is important–but so is doing your exercises, working with a qualified physical therapist, and prioritizing your long-term recovery. 

Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Whether you need help from someone in your household, a close family member or friend, or your physical therapist, there are times you are going to need to ask for assistance. This is a part of recovery! If we are on your recovery team, we look forward to finding out how we can help you recover. 

True Sports Physical Therapy – Where Maryland Athletes Rehab

At True Sports, we’re sports-focused because you’re sports-focused. It’s where the best physical therapists in Baltimore and Maryland provide the highest level of sports physical therapy and expertise you need to get back to your sport. With five convenient state-of-the-art locations to choose from, any athlete who takes their rehab seriously can get awesome care and extraordinary results. Select your location and schedule an appointment and have True Sports get you back to your team.

For questions about insurance or self-pay rates, please call our office at 1-401-946-1672.