Prepare For A Successful Surgery
After months of chronic neck pain due to a damaged disc, a spine surgeon may suggest surgery. If the patient decides to move forward, the surgeon will likely perform a cervical disc replacement. A cervical disc replacement is a spine surgery primarily involving the neck area. In this procedure, the diseased or weakened cervical disc will be removed and replaced with an artificial disc. Preparing for the surgery correctly can play a vital role in how well the patient’s body will fare during the procedure. Cliche as this may sound, a healthy diet and an exercise plan can play a crucial role in the surgery’s success.
Understanding cervical disc replacement
This surgery seeks to remove a herniated or degenerated disc in the neck. This damaged disc presses on nearby nerves causing neck pain, stiffness, and arm pain. The surgeon will access the spine via the front of the throat using small incisions. The diseased disc is removed, along with any nearby bone spurs. A replacement disc is then installed, made of a bone graft or synthetic material. Metal screws and a cage help hold the replacement disc in place.
Boost your immunity
Weeks before the surgery, patients should focus on improving immunity through a healthy diet. Immunity-boosting foods include berries, dark leafy greens, and colorful vegetables. This diet may reduce the chance of infections before and after surgery. A diet high in healthy protein can also help heal soft tissue and minimize the formation of scars. Focus on lean meat, poultry, fish, and dairy products. Vegans can get protein from beans, nuts, seeds, tofu, and tempeh.
Healthy bones and blood cells
Studies show that many Americans are vitamin D deficient. Vitamin D, along with calcium, can aid in bone healing. A diet with fortified dairy products, cereals, green leafy vegetables, beans, lentils, and fish can provide these nutrients. Increased iron can also help produce healthy red blood cells. Both vegans and non-vegans can get iron and calcium from beans, lentils, fortified bread, and cereals. Start with these diet changes a few weeks before surgery while eliminating processed foods and excess sugars. These changes prepare the body for the upcoming procedure.
The power of exercise
A spinal surgeon will suggest exercise to help ease stiffness and pain. Exercise also strengthens surrounding muscles to speed up recovery. The surgeon may recommend a physical therapist as part of a rapid recovery protocol. Low-impact physical therapy exercises can include head rotations, shoulder circles, head lifts, and resistance exercises. Neck tilts and stretches can also help. Besides targeted exercises, patients should perform general activities like walking, cycling, and water therapy. These exercises can help with weight management and cardiovascular health, which are crucial for surgery success. Speak with the surgeon for the best routine based on current health and fitness levels.
A smoother recovery
A healthy diet and low-impact exercises can go a long way in promoting recovery. A cervical disc replacement is a delicate procedure, and a strong, healthy body can improve outcomes. A diet rich in whole foods can help with immunity and healing. Exercise can strengthen the surrounding muscles and even help reduce fat. This can reduce postoperative pain. Patients do not need drastic, sweeping changes. Some simple habits several weeks beforehand may be enough to improve outcomes.