A tummy tuck can do wonders for both your physique and confidence, but if you have a bad back, the process may be a little different. Not only do you have to recover from surgery successfully, but you also need to be cautious of how what you're doing may impact back pain.
1. Talk To Your Physician, Too
You'll be consulting with your cosmetic surgeon, of course, but it's important that your primary physician is involved in the process, too. You've likely told them about your back pain, so they'll know what special complications you may face and how to cope with them. While recovery is your priority following surgery, you still need to tend to your sore back and prevent worsening it, and your physician (or chiropractor) can help you accomplish that.
2. Prepare Your Core Muscles For The Surgery
Although there isn't much you can do for diastasis, (the separating of muscles in your abdomen and the condition for which you're likely having the tummy tuck), you need to keep potential back pain in mind. Because recovery will hamper your physical activity, strengthening the core muscles that support your back now can help you through the process.
During a tummy tuck, fat and excess skin are removed; however, the surgeon isn't able to build or empower your muscles in any way, meaning you've got to do that on your own, both before and after the procedure. If the core muscles in your stomach and back aren't in good shape, that's going to mean more stress (and consequent pain) on your already aching back. Keep this in mind as you work out (and you will work out, right?) in the weeks leading up to your surgery.
3. Get Your Home Ready For Your Temporary Handicap
As you recover, you're likely to be somewhat stuck in a leaning position. Because you can't fully extend your tummy muscles until they're fully healed, be prepared in your home by moving things on higher shelves and placing them within arm's reach. Getting meals and snacks ready ahead of time and having them on hand may help also, so fill your freezer with the healthy (and low-cal/fat) fixings that will keep you going, with minimal work involved.
If possible, catch up on all your laundry and major housework, then leave it be until you're completely recovered. The healing schedule differs between patients, but you shouldn't be impaired for more than a few weeks. Anything you can do to make that time easy on yourself will be better for your back, as well as your stomach muscles. Call on friends, family and neighbors when you need them, too, rather than pushing your body too hard before you're ready.
4. Wear Your Abdominal Binder
You'll be given an abdominal binder to wear throughout your recovery, and while it's crucial that everyone wear this, it's even more important to you. For most, the binder serves the purposes of preventing swelling, providing comfort and assisting with mobility, but for you, it should help with back support while the muscles that normally do so aren't available for use.
5. Plan On Sleeping In A Recliner
Since you won't be able to stretch out during slumber, a recliner may be the best place for you to sleep; however, given your tender back, this could be a problem. Ahead of time, make preparations to be comfortable in a bent or curled up position. For many, this involves sleeping on a recliner or while propped up with a number of pillows. However you're going to sleep to help your tummy heal, make sure it's not going to aggravate your back.
6. Ask Your Doctor About Long-Term, Safe Exercises For Your Tummy
Not only will a safe exercise routine help you sculpt your stomach muscles following the tuck, but it will also do wonders for your aching back. Many ab-crunching workouts are tough on the lower back and should be avoided, but there are plenty of back-friendly exercises you can and should do, after you've checked with your doctor.
You don't want to come out of a tummy tuck with your back any worse for the wear. In fact, if you plan and prepare for it, your back should be in even better shape than before and your body in a more advantageous position to keep the stress and strain off your lower back. Remember that what you do to help alleviate back pain can also work to create a flatter, tighter and more attractive stomach, and that's what you're doing all of this for anyway. Contact a medical facility like Gary Takowsky MD, A Plastic Surgery Group for more information.