The thought of spinal surgery can be intimidating. And envisioning the recovery process after such a serious surgery can be even more so. But it doesn’t have to be a scary process. With a solid plan, rehab professionals can guide you through recovery.
By now, you’ve likely chosen your surgeon and have learned more about your procedure. You can bring peace of mind to this moment by coordinating with your physician to plan your post-operative recovery now. Often, rehabilitation is not only recommended after surgery but also mandated in order to achieve comprehensive healing.
When searching for spinal surgery rehab in Alabama, there are many venues to choose from, but some are better suited for spine rehabilitation than others. Using the guidelines below, you can make an informed decision about the rehab facility that will best suit your recovery needs.
Seek Out Specialized Spine Rehabilitation Services
Not all rehab facilities are equipped with the knowledge to delicately handle post-surgical recovery. When searching for the right fit, you’ll want to look for a clinic that specializes in spinal surgery recovery, and one that has experience with the particular surgery you’re undergoing, whether it’s for correction of a ruptured disk or a spinal cord injury.
Next, discuss your post-surgical therapy plan with your doctor as early as possible in order to get a list of requirements. Your doctor may recommend a specific facility or require therapy during certain days, with specific durations. Physicians may even require overnight care. Use this list of requirements to narrow down your options and eliminate facilities that cannot meet your doctor’s demands.
Once you’ve determined that the facility is qualified and capable of providing your post-operative recovery, you can move on to evaluating additional services available at the facility.
Look for Staff with Experience and Spinal Surgery Expertise
You’ll want to ensure that you're in the hands of caregivers who know the etiquette of caring for patients recovering from spinal surgery. A quality rehab facility invests in professional staff who are trained with the appropriate credentials. If the facility you’re considering offers multiple types of rehab, make sure that it employs specialists who are knowledgeable and experienced with spinal surgery patients.
It takes a team to help you recover. Here are the essential players to look for:
- PM&R (Physiatrist) Physician: a specialty doctor with expertise in spinal injuries and rehabilitation
- Registered rehab nurse: a nurse with formal education focused on rehabilitation
- Occupational Therapist (OT): a professional who helps patients safely return to normal daily activities
- Physical Therapist (PT): a trained professional who provides orthopedic rehab, coaching patients to improve mobility, strength, and overall muscle and joint health after injury or surgery
Avoid facilities if they lack a comprehensive team of qualified specialists. Missing links in the team or the use of untrained staff to provide services are two red flags when picking out your spinal surgery rehab facility in Alabama.
Choose Spinal Surgery Recovery That Offers a Personalized Treatment Plan
Your post-surgical recovery depends on the quality and relevancy of your treatment plan. Look for a facility with a team of professionals who will work with you to craft and execute your personal spine rehabilitation plan. Each member, from the rehab physician to the nurses and therapists, must coordinate with you to set short and long-term recovery goals. A collaborative team works together to lay out a clear action plan.
Avoid facilities that advertise a one-size-fits-most approach. Personalized rehab programs require ongoing pain and progress evaluations in order to make measured adjustments to your treatment plan.
When selecting your team of medical professionals to help with your return to health, patient-to-staff ratios are another important determinant. This number will vary depending on the role. For example, it’s acceptable for your nurse and physician to have a higher ratio and see more patients because you require less one-on-one time with them.
A facility with low patient-to-staff ratios for physical therapists is ideal so that your physical therapist can focus on providing one-on-one dedicated care. This allows for safe execution as well as customization of your plan to build upon your progress at your own pace.
Find a Program Focused on Spine-Specific Restorative Therapy
Spinal rehab programs require specific therapeutic movements for proper healing after surgery. A successful spinal surgery recovery plan often requires three therapeutic components:
- Stretching: Increases flexibility and range of motion to reduce your risk of injury
- Strengthening: Reinforces your spine and improves alignment to prevent injury
- Conditioning: Ensures long-term success through an extended strength and flexibility program
Ensure that the facility you choose for your spinal surgery recovery incorporates these elements into your treatment plan so that you can enjoy the fullest range of motion possible without pain.
Occupational therapy is another critical component of spinal rehabilitation. The spine is involved in virtually every movement we make—from putting our shoes on to getting in and out of bed. You’ll likely be engaged in different physical activities, making the transition back home an essential therapeutic touchpoint.
An occupational therapist will help you transition back into activities that you perform at home so that you can return to them safely, without re-injury. Look for a facility that doesn’t end your care when you walk out the door, but that truly follows up with patients as they return to a normal productive life.
Solutions for Spinal Surgery Recovery
Spinal surgery is a procedure that you prefer to endure only once. Increase the effectiveness of your surgical treatment by supplementing with a quality spine rehabilitation program. Avoid failed back surgery syndrome by vetting rehab facilities so that you can make an informed selection with a healthcare organization that has documented expertise in spinal recovery.
Rehab Select provides integrated, customized treatment plans for inpatient orthopedic rehab to help you recover from spinal injuries. Schedule a tour today to begin planning your spinal surgery rehab in Alabama.