Pseudarthrosis is a condition where your spinal fusion fails to complete and heal correctly. Right after you have the surgery, you may report to your doctor that you don't have any of the symptoms that were plaguing you beforehand. However, you can experience a return of your symptoms months after the surgery if your spinal fusion doesn't completely heal as it should. The main usually concentrate on your neck and back.
This is pseudarthrosis. Your doctor can evaluate your pseudarthrosis based on an x-ray of the surgical site. Typically, the surgeon will also recommend you get a CT scan to see whether or not the spinal fusion healed correctly. If it didn't, you have treatment options in the form of surgical and non-surgical care. But how do you live with pseudarthrosis once you get the diagnosis? Here are a few quick tips.
1. Perform Pain-Relief Activities
Yes, moving can be the last thing you want to do when you're in pain. However, it's important that you make a point to remain active. While it's true that you don't want to overdo it, you do want to perform moderate movement to help prevent issues like blood clots. Moderate movement can also help keep your digestive system healthy, prevents your muscles from growing weaker, boosts energy levels, and it can discourage pressure ulcers from forming. Try to schedule 10 to 20 minutes a day of moderate exercise.
2. Have a Healthy Diet
Being overweight can put a lot of stress and strain on your body, and it can make your pseudarthrosis worse. It's a good idea to start incorporating more healthy foods into your diet. This could mean cutting back on fatty or sugary foods, eating smaller portions, or making better choices for snacks. A healthy diet and moderate exercise can help you slim down, and this can reduce the pressure on your spine. In turn, this can help alleviate your symptoms. Go slow and make gradual changes to your diet to set yourself up for success.
3. Schedule Physical Therapy Appointments
If you're scared of overdoing it and injuring yourself more, consider scheduling and attending physical therapy appointments. Your surgeon or primary care doctor can refer you to them. Not only can this help you get a little more active, but physical therapy can give you safe stretches and exercises you can do to strengthen your back muscles and help relieve stress and strain. You could go once a week, several times a week, or a few times a month. Remember to continue your sessions at home too.
4. Learn Pain Management Skills
You can take various NSAIDs for your pain to help with any inflammation. However, there are other non-drug pain relief options available to you to help keep you comfortable. You can apply moist heat with gentle massages to help loosen up your muscles. Taking short rest periods in the middle of strenuous activity can help, and you should make it a habit to reposition yourself frequently to avoid stiffening up. Your doctor could also prescribe you muscle relaxers or prescription pain medications.
5. Ask for Help
It's true that very few people like to ask for help. However, it could be essential to help you live better with your pseudarthrosis. Instead of trying to do it all yourself and overtaxing your body, ask for help. If you have a big project coming up, invite family or friends to help you complete it. For chores that are no longer feasible or easy, make a list and ask for help with them when people stop by. This can help keep your pain levels manageable while still completing whatever tasks you have on-hand.
6. Have Good Posture
It's so easy to slump over and have bad posture, especially when you're working. Start making a point to stand up straight with your ears over your shoulders. Your shoulders should be over your hip joints, and your hip joints should be over your ankles. When you sit down, you want to invest in a chair that will help to keep your back straight. This can improve any muscle aches or general fatigue you could feel.
7. Lift Correctly
If you do find yourself lifting a heavy object, it's essential that you learn how to lift properly to avoid putting a strain or pressure on your spine. Hold the item close to your body and bend at the knees to pick the item up. Don't lift with your back. Be very sure that you don't twist your body when you lift. You want to pivot with your whole body instead. Finally, if you have a lot of heavy lifting to do, consider wearing a brace.
8. Practice Stress Relief
Stress can be very hard on your body, and it can be very hard mentally. Stress tends to aggravate any pain you have and make it worse. You want to find stress-relieving activities to partake in. Yoga is a very popular one that is very low-impact. Swimming or water aerobics could be a stress-relieving activity too. You want to avoid overscheduling your days and take time to treat yourself occasionally.
9. Get a Good Night's Sleep
Not sleeping well can wreck your body. If you have a mattress that is too soft, this can easily push your spine and back out of alignment. This misalignment can lead to increased pain, stiff muscles, and inflammation. Ideally, you'll pick out a mattress that is medium or firm over soft. Get in a routine that allows you to get at least eight hours of sleep a night.
Contact Florida Spine Associates for Help With Your Pseudarthrosis
If you have pseudarthrosis and you'd like more tips on how to live well, contact us. We're happy to discuss surgical and non-surgical options available to you that can help reduce your pain levels. In turn, you can live a better life with less pain.