Surgical procedures are a basic part of modern medicine. By some estimates, the average person has about nine surgical processes during their life. Some are small and routine, like a mole removal; others are intensive, as with organ transplants.
Your doctor will often put limitations on post-operative activities after a procedure or surgery, and you should always adhere to their proposal. Still, most surgeons do not explicitly mention chiropractic care in their aftercare instructions.
For some surgeries, joint replacement surgery, discectomies, etc., chiropractic care can be modified as needed if the doctor and therapist permit chiropractic treatment. For instance, adjustments and joint care can likely be suspended for a time and replaced with soft tissue therapies like stretching and passive and active mobilizations.
For eye and abdominal operations, including C-sections, chiropractic care may be resumed anywhere between four weeks to three months after the operation.
Some people think that if you have had chest or side surgery, so you should no longer see a chiropractor. That is absolutely not the case. Most of the time, these patients are particularly in need of accurate chiropractic care. You can trust your chiropractor to have the knowledge, skills, and technologies to be a valuable part of your post-procedural care. Frequently, they will stay away from the location of the operation, and their care will have positive effects on the areas above and below the surgical site.
For some patients who have previously undergone an operation, chiropractors can use low-dose digital X-rays and other diagnostic tools to recognize the precise structure and shape of the back. If musculoskeletal areas are not in optimal alignment, gentle (low-force) adjusting techniques can be used for any desired modifications.
Surgery sometimes creates a new set of problems. Although the initial pain or condition is no longer present, you can end up with new aches and pains you didn’t have before surgery.
That’s because any time an incision is made – whether orthoscopic or a larger incision – scar tissue will form, and changes to how your body moves will ensue. Scar tissue often causes a decrease in motion and movement in the area. Your body compensates with altered mechanics to make up for this.
Chiropractors are trained in soft-tissue mobilization techniques that can help decrease scar tissue build-up or help to remodel soft tissue in the area. They can also recommend therapeutic exercises to help re-teach the body to function properly.
In fact, chiropractors are extensively trained in rehabilitation techniques as well as manual spinal manipulation. There are also alternatives to being manually adjusted, and these low-force techniques are often very beneficial for people who have surgical hardware in their spine.
It’s important to talk with your doctor, surgeon, and your chiropractor about the prospect of including chiropractic care as part of the post-surgical treatment or rehab system. Be sure to discuss care plans well ahead of time and again after surgery, as circumstances might change the original timeline or advice.
If that operation was the outcome of an emergency, like an accident, heart failure, etc., talk about it with your healthcare team. To advise and treat you as needed, all your medical professionals must have all pertinent information. If you’re getting post-surgical instructions and need to know if chiropractic care can be part of your recovery, talk to all the physicians involved in your care.
As an example, consider a patient who’s had open-heart surgery. The heart receives constant direction from the nervous system housed in the spinal column. The spine’s intimate relationship with the nervous system explains exactly why a healthy spine translates into healthier heart function.
One research study, Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment Improves Heart Surgery Outcomes, showed that patients receiving spinal adjustments after heart surgery experienced significantly improved outcomes compared to those who did not receive spinal adjustments.
The study detailed benefits such as improved overall function, a reduced time in the hospital, and less need for prescription drugs.
When the goal is better health and well-being, implementing nervous system care with medical care is a wise plan. You want the spine, nervous system, and organs to battle disease proactively. An empowered nervous system begins with appropriate chiropractic care.
Cleveland University-Kansas City (CUKC), founded in 1922, is a private, nonprofit, chiropractic and health sciences university in Overland Park, Kansas. The CUKC on-campus Chiropractic Health Center is open to the public and treats patients from Kansas City’s 15-county metro area. Our goal is to provide care and solutions for a better, more productive life for our patients.