Post Surgical Care and Recovery
Having surgery on your back, shoulders, knees or other joints can help resolve injury and pain. However the recovery process can be slow and frustrating. At Northern Nevada Chiropractic, our philosophy is that an alternative to invasive medicine is the best medicine, but if you have to have surgery, we can help your body heal faster and help you regain increased range of motion.
Types of Treatments to Heal Faster After Surgery
The laser delivers light energy units, in the form of photons, to damaged cells. This helps aid the body’s own healing process to reduce inflammation, increase blood flow, stimulate tissue growth, and provide overall accelerated pain relief and healing. It even helps with peripheral neuropathy, which is nerve inflammation post-surgery. Laser therapy is also shown to accelerate wound healing (like a surgical entry point) because of the increased blood flow the laser stimulates.
Dry needling is a highly effective treatment to improve range of motion, alleviate pain, relieve tension, and calm muscle spasms. This treatment can ease muscle spasms and muscle tenderness and tightness. It can also help relieve pain following an accident, surgery, or sports injury because it accelerates the body’s natural healing process. The needle is inserted into the body at a trigger point on a muscle, which causes it to contract and then relax. That signal then travels on a specific pathway from the point of stimulation to the brain. This flow of energy reduces muscle fiber pain and soft tissue pain in many patients. In addition, easing the trigger points may improve flexibility and increase range of motion.
Patients who have had spinal surgery with instrumentation (screws, metal plates or “cages”) are not good candidates for spinal decompression. However, spinal decompression after bone fusion or non-fusion surgery, can be performed.
Spinal decompression works by gently stretching the spine, relieving intradiscal pressure from the spinal discs. Spinal discs are gel-like cushions between the bones in your spine. By creating negative pressure in the disc and stretching the spine, the therapy causes bulging or herniated disks to retract, taking pressure off nerves and other structures in your spine. This in turn, helps promote movement of water, oxygen, and nutrient-rich fluids into the disks so they can heal.
Movement after surgery is crucial to faster healing. Usually the first thing your surgeon wants you to do after initial recovery is to get up and move. This is especially true with knee surgeries. Depending on your injury and subsequent surgery, your chiropractor can work with you on exercises that will help you regain range of motion. We have a library of exercises you can do with your doctor and on your own at home. Just make sure you have a clear plan from your chiropractor for what exercises you should be doing and how often.
Most often people associate chiropractic with the spine, but really chiropractors treat all joints within the body. When chiropractors talk about “extremities” they are referring to the numerous joints in the body including the jaw, shoulder, ribs, shoulder, wrist, elbows, fingers, hand, hip, ankle, knee, toes, and the foot. Our doctors have a special interest in extremity adjustment and work with many patients who suffer from shoulder, wrist, and knee injuries, or who are healing from surgery. Extremity treatments after surgery may be gentle stretching, manual manipulation to reduce scar tissue, or therapeutic exercises.
Like chiropractic medicine, massage offers a drug-free, noninvasive and hands-on approach to helping the body heal itself. There are many forms of massage, but our partner, AC Massage, focuses on therapeutic, rehabilitating massage to help get patients out of pain, realigned and cleared of toxins. This is especially helpful after surgery because massage helps to prevent scar tissue from forming or can work to break it up if it has already started. And less scar tissue means the body has much better range of motion.