Any kind of surgery has a huge impact on your quality of life in the days just after the procedure. While plenty of rest is always a good idea, you can get proactive and take a few other steps to make sure your healing is far less painful or slow than it needs to be. The steps given here will help you get back to work, take care of your kids, hit the gym, or get social much quicker, without hurting yourself in the process.
12 Steps to Healing Faster After Surgery
1. Follow the Doctor’s Orders
It is understandable that you would want to go back to your everyday life from before the surgery as soon as possible. The best way to achieve this is by closely following the instructions given by your doctor. If something doesn’t make sense to you, check back with your doctor before you make a call all by yourself. Most doctors will happily answer your questions.
2. Check When to Resume Exercise
Did you have a really active lifestyle prior to the operation? Different types of operations will have different variations of recovery time. The general surgeons at Circle Health Group — the UK’s largest national network of private hospitals — advise that for simpler procedures, you can get back to your previous lifestyle in just a few days, while more complicated procedures will mean a longer period of rest. Make sure you speak with your surgeon, as you don’t want to rush your recovery only to land back at the doctor’s office.
3. Get Mobile
While you don’t want to overdo it, gentle movement can actually aid your progress. You can set alarms on your phone to remind you to take a stroll around your house every hour or so. Gentle movement can keep complications like deep vein thrombosis at bay.
4. Attend Your Follow-Up Appointments
These appointments allow doctors to check if you’re recovering in the expected way. If the recovery is too slow or too painful, your surgeon can diagnose why and take immediate action. They will also want to rule out infection. Make sure you don’t miss your follow-up appointments.
5. Maintain Your Hygiene
Preventing infections is key to a swift and uneventful recovery. Infections can not only complicate the immediate wound but can also move to other areas of the body. Maintaining your hygiene and washing your hands before you touch your incision helps prevent infection.
At the same time, do not go overboard with cleaning the incision. Scabbing is a normal part of healing. Trying to remove scabs or being overzealous while cleaning the incision can make your recovery longer.
6. Drink Plenty of Water
Fluids are crucial for a swift recovery. Plain water is your best friend. Drink plenty of water and other healthy fluids, as recommended by your doctor. Plain water can also help prevent constipation, which can be especially painful in abdominal surgeries.
7. Follow a Healthy Diet
You might feel like you’ve lost your appetite after the surgery. But a healthy diet will help your body recover from the surgery and the anaesthesia. Protein from sources such as fish is important for your recovery, as are healthy fats, minerals, B vitamins and vitamin C. Fruits, berries and vegetables are good sources of vitamins and minerals.
Too many patients shy away from healthy fats from sources such as olive oil and avocados that can actually be good for you. Your doctor can often assist you in finding the right dietary sources for the various food groups and in planning effective meal planning solutions.
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8. Monitor Your Pain
Stay on top of your pain medication. Don’t miss your doses. Many patients have a fear of getting addicted to pain medication, but the right dose, monitored by your doctor, can significantly ease your everyday life after surgery.
9. Take Your Symptoms Seriously
A lot of patients shrug off significant changes during recovery. If your incision is bleeding, or looks like it is infected, or if you’re having trouble breathing or urinating, don’t hesitate in going to the A&E department to get it checked out.
10. Keep Your Mind Occupied
Recovery can be as much in the mind as in the body. If you keep yourself occupied with hobbies such as listening to soothing music or reading a book, your mind will be too busy to dwell on anxiety about recovering quickly.
11. Learn to Meditate
Your convalescence time might be the best time to start a daily meditation practice. Meditation has been proven to have significant benefits on general well-being, pain and recovery. Even just a few minutes of meditation every day can make you calmer, more optimistic and less anxious.
12. Make Goals for the Future
Making a plan for what you’d like to do after healing can help you keep a forward-looking attitude as well as help you stick with the recovery process. Making small, actionable and achievable goals can help you stay focused on your journey to a healthy life.
A surgical procedure may be inevitable sometimes, but you can make your period of convalescence much shorter and far less traumatic by following the above steps. Happy healing!