The Southeastern Spine Institute

Whether you had surgery to repair the damage from a fall or it was necessary to fix long-term degeneration, your back surgery recovery depends largely on your staying upright and avoiding future falls. Preventing falls after surgery is tantamount to a safe and thorough recovery.

Your physician and physical therapist will insist that you begin walking as soon as possible as part of your back surgery recovery. So make note of the following tips aimed at reducing your risk of falls. These tips will make your recovery easier and more relaxing.

Home Sweet Home

In the hospital, as part of your back surgery recovery, you’ll get up close and personal attention when you begin moving around. Fall prevention is a major initiative at most facilities. You’ll most likely use a walker and have attendants follow when you first get out of bed to walk.

It’s when you get home that you may be more inclined to take shortcuts, thinking that you won’t fall. But it’s often when you least expect it that accidents happen. You trip, slip or tumble, only to break open stiches or worse, hurt your back again.

Make arrangements to prepare your home for your return before you even leave for the hospital. Your caregivers or helpers can assist once you’re home.

  1. Take loose throw rugs completely off the floor. If they are absolutely necessary, tape them down with two-sided rug tape. Pick up other items that are laying in the common path from room to room, such as electrical cords, magazine racks and shoes.
  2. Move items that you use often — such as utensils, cups, dishes and napkins — to lower drawers and cabinets, making them easier to reach. You definitely need to avoid stretching too much or relying on step stools as you try to put together a meal or get a drink of water.
  3. Keep rooms well-lit at night or wherever there is too little outside light coming in. You may be slightly disoriented during your back surgery recovery because of your pain medications. Rely on light, rather than your memory, to navigate the rooms in your home.
  4. Board dogs or other pets. They may be so glad to see you that they jump up and knock you over or get underfoot and trip you. If you want to keep pets nearby during your back surgery recovery, place overactive pets in a crate when you’re planning on moving around.
  5. Leave your heels, sling-backs and clogs for later. Stick to wearing shoes with secure backs and non-skid soles during your back surgery recovery.
  6. Until your physical therapist and doctor tell you otherwise, skip the long, hot baths and take showers. Use a shower chair if you feel unsteady. Tub baths are notorious for increasing the risk of twisting or bending your back inappropriately. And your risk of falling increases exponentially as you get in and out of the tub.
  7. Continue walking and doing the exercises prescribed by your therapist, but add sufficient rest in between activities. Your body needs rest as much as movement during your back surgery recovery. You’ll get stronger, leading to more control and balance to prevent falls.