The spinal cord is located inside the spinal canal, which comprises of more than thirty different bones. However with aging and progressive wear and tear of the spinal bones, the spinal canal may narrow down. This condition is referred to as Cervical Spinal Stenosis and results in nerve compression.
Cervical spinal stenosis results in pain, tingling and numbness in the arms, due to compression of the nerve roots supplying to the upper extremities. A laminectomy surgery is performed to relieve these symptoms of pain and the procedure involves removal of small section of the bone, which is aimed at enlarging the available area for the spinal cord.
The surgical treatment is performed to relieve the pressure on the affected spinal nerve; however patients must adhere to specific precautionary measures to avoid injury and infection and also to hasten the recovery time.
Post Cervical Laminectomy Precautions
Here are some simple precautions that need to be followed post surgery to reduce the risk of infections and injury and hasten the process of healing,
- Bed rest is a very crucial and vital aspect of post surgical care and patients are requested to limit their movements for the first few weeks following surgery. Though complete bed rest may not be required in most patients, it is recommended that the patient should avoid performing strenuous activities and also wear a surgical collar to protect the neck for any damage.
- The patient is allowed to shower on the fourth day after surgery. The objective is to ensure that the incision is kept dry and clean at all times. The wound should be regularly examined and any indications of redness, inflammation, swelling or bleeding should be immediately reported to the concerned health care provider.
- Walking helps reduce the risk of formation of blood clots; however, strenuous sports should be avoided for almost three months after the surgery.
- Pain management is important in effective post surgical care. Narcotic pain killers may be required for about four to eight weeks post surgery, until the nerves heal. It should be remembered that narcotics may result in constipation and hence a high fiber diet, plenty of fluids and laxatives are recommended. The patient should take due care to prevent any attempt to strain during stools. NSAIDs need to be completely avoided since these drugs may result in excessive bleeding.
- Habits like smoking or consumption of alcohol may interfere with the ability of the body to heal. A healthy and well balanced diet would do wonders in hastening the process of healing. Also, limit the intake of caffeine, tea, etc. which also act as stimulants and interfere with natural healing.
Recovery Time For Cervical Laminectomy
Physical therapy post surgery plays an essential part in strengthening the muscles and relieving muscular spasms and pain. The initial part of the treatment comprises of electrical stimulation, massage and ice treatment, while subsequently, the patient is allowed to perform other cardiovascular exercises, including stationary cycling, arm cycling, etc.
Under normal conditions, the patient may be allowed to perform routine, non strenuous activities like driving within two weeks of the surgery and perform light work after about a month of the surgery. The patient may be allowed to get back to routine work within three months of the surgery. However, in individuals with a strenuous job profile and athletes, resuming can take about six months post surgery.