How Long Should You Rest After Surgery?

Right after surgery

  • You’re taken to the recovery room after the surgery. In a recovery room where nurses will watch you closely, you will spend 45 minutes to 2 hours. Depending on the procedure and how quickly you wake up from the anesthesia, you can stay longer.
  • If you have any side effects, the nurse will observe all of your vital signs and support you.
  • When you wake up, you can feel some pain. To make you as comfortable as possible, your nurse will work with you.
  • You may wake up with a dressing, an IV, oxygen, or other monitors and tubes.
  • Your surgeon will talk with your family when your surgery is over.
  • You will be taken to your bed if you are an inpatient (staying in the hospital overnight). After your time in the recuperation room, your family will join you.
  • You will be taken to the treatment area if you are an outpatient (returning home on the same day as the operation). In this place, a family member can join you.
  • You will receive instructions for taking care of yourself at home.
  • For your safety, you will need a responsible adult to drive you home and to stay with you for 24 hours.
  • For 24 hours:
  • Do not drive or use any machinery.
  • Do not make important decisions.
  • Do not drink alcohol. (It is also important to not drink alcohol as long as you are taking prescription pain medicine.)

Mistakes After Surgery That Slow Your Recovery

  1. Do Too Much, Too Soon

You were given clear dos and don’ts by your doctor. Pay them mind. Perhaps, for instance, you have a green light for basic tasks, but a red light for strenuous ones. Or maybe you should walk every day, but you shouldn’t carry anything over 10 pounds.

  1. Stay in Bed

A host of complications may be caused by lying in bed — blood clots, pressure ulcers, pulmonary embolisms, and muscle weakening. Avoid the temptation to sleep it off even though you feel exhausted. It literally shakes off exhaustion as you walk around it. It speeds digestion as well. After surgery, the bowels can be slow, but a little physical exercise helps wake your stomach up again.

  1. Don’t Take Your Meds as Prescribed

Since you heard it’s addictive or it makes you constipated, nauseous, or woozy, you can brush off pain medicine. But it’s not wise to skimp on your medication.

Pain can interfere with your sleep, appetite, and ability to get around sometimes. And that can make recovery more difficult for your body. Ultimately, but not until you’re ready, the objective is to get off medicine.

  1. Don’t Get Enough Food or Drink

It is only normal that you will not be in the mood to eat or drink if you feel queasy or haven’t moved your bowels. But “refuel.” it is necessary.

Food provides energy to your muscles and fluids will keep you hydrated. Your recovery will stall when you don’t get enough.

  1. Skip Rehab

A lot of people think that they can tough it out on their own, Whiteson says, but working with a physical therapist is vital.

After certain forms of surgery, one or two sessions before you leave the hospital might be good enough. But if you’ve had a big operation, physical therapy is necessary. It will help you to get stronger and to safely recover. Take it earnestly. Make your appointments and do your workouts at home.

  1. Go Back to Work Too Soon

Plan in advance for time off and ask your doctor when you can return.

  1. Drive Before You’re Ready

It’s a legitimate excuse if your doctor advises you not to get behind the wheel—whether it’s for 2 weeks or 2 months. You may have a slower reaction time and you could get into an accident. Get a lift from a friend or family member before you’re able to tackle it. Or ask them to get your errands done for you.

  1. Quit Your Breathing Exercises

Your doctor may give you exercises to help your lungs recover from anesthesia, the medication that has kept you pain-free during the procedure if you have had surgery on your stomach, heart, lung, or spine.

Are You Looking for Post Operative Rehabilitation? 

Pace Physical Therapy in San Jose, California specializes in Post Operative Rehabilitation and recovery therapies.  We pride ourselves on offering the best possible physical therapy available and going above and beyond for our patients. Our highly experienced physical therapist will work with you to improve your function and relieve your pain. At Pace Physical Therapy, individualized post-surgical recovery not only minimizes your pain and speeds up the healing time, but it can also decrease the chances of postoperative complications, including infections, bleeding, blood clots, muscle fatigue, scar tissue, reduced function, and other factors that can affect your long-term health negatively. The ability to help you minimize or fully stop prescribed painkillers, including opioids, is another important justification for choosing post-surgical physical therapy. Contact us today to schedule your appointment!