Surgical operations are a standard part of modern medicine. By many estimates, the average person will have about nine surgical procedures during their lifetime, including outpatient and in-office procedures. These surgeries may be quite minor and routine, such as a mole removal – or extremely serious, as with organ transplants.
Proper postoperative care is a critical component of recovery after a surgery. Your surgeon will often place restrictions on your activity for a period of time after your procedure, and you should always adhere to their advice. However, most surgeons do not explicitly mention chiropractic treatment in their aftercare instructions. So how long do you need to wait after surgery before having chiropractic care? Unfortunately, there is no single universal answer.
Type and Scope of Surgery
A large portion of the answer to the above question will depend on the type and scope of your surgery. This may seem obvious to some degree. For example, if you’re recovering from ankle surgery but desire chiropractic treatments for tennis elbow, this is unlikely to be a problem. Or, if you’ve had a wound on your finger recently stitched closed, spinal adjustments should not interfere with that healing process.
However, scenarios may arise where you’re unsure whether you’ve healed sufficiently for a chiropractic adjustment. This may be the case for abdominal surgeries, such as a gallbladder removal. In these cases, you should always consult your surgeon prior to undergoing any medical treatment, including chiropractic. Your surgeon is responsible for your aftercare following surgery, and you need to contact their office for any questions or concerns.
Keep Your Providers Up to Date
Whether you’ve undergone a tooth extraction or surgery to help repair a broken bone, you should make certain that all of your healthcare providers are updated on your medical history. This includes your chiropractor. As a medical provider, your chiropractor needs to know your current medical status and all procedures you’ve undergone, no matter how seemingly minor. Keeping your chiropractor up to date will allow them to make the best decisions for your health and safety.
Before any surgery, your surgeon will explain the procedure and give you an opportunity to ask questions. If you’re planning on seeking chiropractic treatment during your recovery, let your surgeon know and ask about appropriate timeframes. Your surgeon will be able to clear you for chiropractic treatment when you’re ready.
Also, make sure your surgeon and chiropractor have each other’s contact information in case a question arises. This way, they’ll be able to coordinate your care and keep each other informed of your progress.
Although they are different disciplines, chiropractic and surgical care aren’t at odds with each other. By keeping your healthcare providers up to date on your medical history and asking questions, you can help ensure that your treatment team is working in conjunction to ensure your health and wellness.