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If you are getting ready for back surgery, you likely have many questions. From what you should expect during the procedure, to things you can do to help prepare your body, surgeries can be complicated and a bit scary. We believe that the more information you have, the easier it can be. 

To help you to prepare, we have put together this list of 11 must-haves for after back surgery. 

Instructions from your doctor

The most important thing you can have after back surgery is a set of detailed instructions from your doctor. This should cover everything from how to utilize ice or heat to how long after back surgery can you bend over. You should follow these specific instructions very carefully, and do not hesitate to ask for clarification if you need it. Failure to follow the directions carefully may result in permanent nerve damage after back surgery.

A solid support system

Recovering from surgery isn’t easy, and back surgery can be a challenge. It is common and expected that you may have difficulty walking after back surgery, which can make even simple tasks a challenge. 

We suggest that you identify helpers that may be able to help throughout the surgery recovery period. Find a friend who can drive you to follow-up appointments or physical therapy. Perhaps there’s a family member that can pick up prescriptions for you or make dinner. Even a pal who can keep you company can help your recovery a great deal.

A place to rest

Make sure you have a comfortable place to rest and convalesce. Whether it’s your bed with many pillows or a comfortable recliner chair, recovery from spine surgery calls for lots of downtime.

Ice and heat

Your doctor will help you to know how you can use ice and heat to relieve pain and discomfort. It’s important to follow medical advice, but ice and heat used correctly can be very helpful to help continued pain. 

Pain medication as recommended

Your doctor will likely recommend a pain management regimen that may include both prescription and over-the-counter pain medication. Responsible pain management can be a vital part of the recovery process, so make sure you fill those prescriptions and follow medical advice carefully. 

Proper nutrition

There is a great deal of medical evidence that proper nutrition before and after spine surgery can make a huge difference in the overall recovery process. Dr. Baig recommends a high protein, low carb diet to help you to heal.

Lots of liquids

Your body needs to stay hydrated to recover from back surgery. Keep your water bottle full and close at hand. suggests that you “take your body weight (in pounds) and divide that number by two—that is about how many ounces of water you should drink each day.”

Medical equipment 

It can be very helpful to have some medical equipment on hand, or available if you need it. Many patients experience a loss of leg strength after back surgery, and it is very important that you do not accidentally bend, lift, or twist until your doctor says it’s safe to do so. So to keep you safe, we recommend that you find all or some of these:

  • A cane, 
  • A walker, 
  • A  shower seat

You may also benefit from a long-handled grabber tool to help you reach things without getting up, and a toilet riser. Your doctor may recommend a back brace or other device as well.


To keep you from getting bored, have an entertainment plan. Movies, TV, books, and music can help you to stay engaged while you recover. 

A positive attitude

One of the biggest must-haves after back surgery is a good attitude. Recovery from back surgery can be challenging, but if you stay positive and understand that the long-term results are worth the discomfort, then it can help you power through. Remember that your doctor would not have recommended surgery unless they thought it was the best option for you in the long run.

An overall wellness plan

Finally, it can be very helpful to work with your medical team to put together a plan for your overall wellness and healing process that can begin even before surgery. From nutrition to safe exercise, and from pain management to physical therapy, an overall wellness plan can help not just your recovery after back surgery, but your life for years to come.
Book a consultation – call the experts at Desert Spine and Scoliosis today!