How Do You Manage Back Pain After Bariatric Surgery?
Improving joint pain and reducing the symptoms of the lumbar spine, like pain, function, and disability index, are the major advantages of bariatric surgery. However, bariatric surgery is a major surgery that comes with some manageable post-operative problems like back pain, especially after gastric sleeve and Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery.
Back pain can be observed anywhere in the lower, middle, or upper back after gastric sleeve surgery. Though it may appear to be minor discomfort, it can be painful and affect your quality of life.
Managing back pain after bariatric surgery might be hard without knowing the root cause. In this article, we have mentioned some of the underlying factors that trigger back pain and suggested the best ways to find relief quickly.
Causes of back pain following weight loss surgery
There are several factors that cause back pain following bariatric surgery. Here are a few of the most popular back pain triggers:
The surgeon inflates the abdominal area with gas during surgery, which aids in the separation of organs from the skin and allows the surgeon to move surgical equipment more freely. After a few weeks post-surgery, some people suffer from back pain or vagal nerve irritation due to the accumulation of residual gas within the upper shoulders and neck.
Loss of fat cushion
As the abdominal fat disappears, the stability of your spine is compromised, which makes it work harder to hold you upright and stay balanced. Over the years, muscles have been subjected to prolonged as a result of supporting too much weight.
All of a sudden, the muscles begin to relax, which could lead to lower back pain in reaction until the muscles adapt to the new structure of your body.
Increased level of physical activity
Following surgery, introducing lifestyle changes and physical activities in regular life is compulsory which may result in uncomfortable bursts of joint pain. The new structures need some time to adjust to the increased level of activity.
Mattresses might cause back pain if the beds are not comfortable for patients after bariatric surgery. So it is recommended to use bariatric-specific beds to rest or sleep.
How do I manage back pain after bariatric surgery?
While discharging, the surgeon will provide the necessary guidelines and tips to recover from your weight loss surgery. First, it is vital to understand that back pain is a common problem after bariatric surgery and there are several options to manage the problem. Back pain after weight loss surgery is usually temporary and will resolve on its own over time.
However, here are a few suggestions to ease upper and lower back pain.
Important: It is advised to consult an expert doctor before practising any home remedies, taking any medications, or doing anything listed below.
The best course of action to manage back pain is to get enough rest and sleep after surgery. Strenuous physical activity can worsen back pain and it can be resolved with rest.
Light exercises such as walking can help to maintain muscle strength. Walking starts soon after a few hours post bariatric surgery, to prevent inflammation in the abdominal wall. Additionally, walking will flush out any gas that has accumulated.
Going to a chiropractor or massage therapist helps you to manage back pain and other joint pains. Your body got used to carrying a lot of weight, so when you lose it all of a sudden, your body starts to adjust the structure of your bones accordingly. So go to the experts once a month for about 6 months.
Warm showers are an excellent way to improve blood flow and relax those frozen muscles.
You can take OTC pain medication (avoid NSAIDs) for back pain.
Gentle stretches after surgery improve blood flow to the muscles, especially to your back muscles. Improvement in blood circulation decreases inflammation and promotes the healing process.
It is highly recommended to maintain a good posture throughout the day to reduce pressure on your back.
Taking vitamin D and calcium supplements is very important to improve calcium levels in the blood (prevents hypocalcemia). Reduces vitamin levels might inflame the nerves, which is one of the reasons for lower back pain. So taking vitamin supplements is very important.
There are many other options to manage back pain that develops after bariatric surgery. If you are suffering back pain after surgery and looking for an expert bariatric surgeon, consult Dr. V Pareek, a renowned bariatric surgeon in Hyderabad. He has nearly two decades of experience as a bariatric and laparoscopic surgeon and is one of the few bariatric surgeons with high success rates. Call +91 91-777-77715 to book an appointment with the doctor.