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Posted on 02-21-2012

Kansas City Chiropractor Shares Five Tips For a Better Post-Anesthesia Recovery

I have personally experienced the fatigue and brain fog from having general anesthesia. I have been through being tired, exhausted, and knowing my brain wasn't working at top speed. As a Holistic Chiropractor I was determined to feel better as quickly as possible. In both my personal experience, and through treating patients that are dealing with the lingering effects of general anesthesia, I have the following tips to speed your recovery.
1. Drink Water
It is so important to drink enough water every day, and especially after general anesthesia. I woke up incredibly thirsty after surgery, and the nurses were amazed at how much water I drank. I told them not to worry, I drink 5 quarts of water a day.
I suggest that people drink one quart of water for every 50 pounds of body weight per day. For example, if you weigh 175 pounds, that would mean drinking 4 quarts of water a day. Between 201 and 250? You need five quarts of water a day. If your body can't seem to handle that much water, you can try sprinkling some sea salt on your meals, or even just put a dash of sea salt in your mouth. This will help keep your sodium levels balanced in your body if you tend to be low on sodium.
Words cannot express how much better I feel when I am consistent about my water intake. Remember, only water counts towards this total. If you add lemon or other flavorings to your water, your body will interpret it as food. Pure water turns on your nervous system. Food, and water with flavor added, turns on your digestive system. If you are currently taking pain pills, increasing your water intake may also help with the constipation that is a common side effect of pain pills.
Note: If you are on water intake restrictions due to a chronic disease or other illness, please do not deviate from those instructions.
2. Eat Protein and Keep Your Blood Sugar Balanced.
It is critical that your body get enough quality protein as you recover from surgery. Your body will need the protein to help repair tissue that was injured during surgery. Keeping your blood sugar stable by eating protein, vegetables, nuts, or some fruit every few hours of the day will help tremendously as you recover from surgery. I usually recommend eating protein at least 3 times a day (or more) to meet your body's protein needs.
3. Receive Acupuncture treatments.
Acupuncture has helped my patients recover from surgery and the side effects of anesthesia at a much faster pace than usual. Acupuncture has decreased their pain, helped them relax, and decrease their brain fog. Acupuncture is a system of balancing the energy in your body by stimulating certain points on the body.
I use the Acugraph program to evaluate a patient's Acupucture Meridian System prior to treatment. This allows me to get an accurate picture of what is happening in your body on an energetic level at this very moment. By combining the Acugraph readings with Acupuncture points known to help with brain function and detoxification, I see extremely fast results for my patients. Acupuncture can also be used to speed healing at the site of surgery.
4. Chiropractic Adjustments to boost your nervous system.
The Nervous System in your body is strongly impacted by anesthesia, especially general anesthesia. Chiropractic Adjustments help reduce interference in your nervous system and increase the efficiency at which your brain and body communicate back and forth.
Of course if you are recovering from surgery, the area near the surgery will not be adjusted. Even though Chiropractic Adjustments are usually very gentle, it is usually advised to avoid adjusting near a surgical site until the area has stabilized and healed for a period of time. However, this doesn't necessarily mean that you cannot receive Chiropractic care at all. The Chiropractor can adjust other areas on your body to maximize your nervous system's functioning while you are recovering.
For example, I just took care of a woman who had a D & C, which is a procedure done on the uterus.  She came in to the office three days after surgery.  We did not do any kind of stretching or twisting adjustments that would have put any pressure on her uterus or pelvis.  I was able to adjust her mid back and neck, as well as give her an Acupuncture treatment.  She told me immediately after her treatment she felt so much better, and felt like she had more energy and less brain fog.  The brightness in her eyes and the smile on her face said it all. 
It is especially important to receive Chiropractic care if you are recovering from a surgery or injury that makes you limp or walk abnormally, as this can cause misalignments and irritation to your nervous system throughout your body. Each patient is different, and this is why a thorough History and Chiropractic Exam is needed on each patient to determine what level of care is appropriate.
5. Sleep
Sleep is one of the most important factors for healing after surgery or anesthesia. It is very common to not sleep well right after anesthesia or surgery, due to the after effects of the anesthesia drugs as well as post-surgical pain. Your body repairs itself while you sleep. It is important to do your best to have uninterupted sleep at night. Turn off or move all sources of light that could keep you awake, like alarm clocks, cell phones, etc. Turn off the TV while you sleep. Make sure your sleeping area is dark and cool, and you have enough covers to keep you warm. Some patients find they sleep much better if they use darkening blinds or even a sleep mask that covers their eyes and blocks the light.
If you are recovering from surgery or anesthesia and want to help your body improve faster, and decrease the after effects like brain fog, please call me!
Better Health is Just a Phone Call Away!
Dr. Kristine Baker

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