Best Ways to Recover from Surgery


Did you know that 40 million to 50 million Americans undergo major surgery every year? Recovering from surgery can become overwhelming, with all of the rules and regulations that are given and the strain it places on your body to do simple tasks.

As you take on the new challenges of recovering from surgery, you can take a few extra steps to ensure your body is receiving adequate care. By taking care of your body properly, there is more potential for a shorter recovery.

First and foremost, maintain a healthy diet. Then, you want to make sure you are letting yourself rest, doing physical therapy, and, lastly, taking precautions to eliminate infections.

Maintain a Healthy Diet

As you start your journey of recovery, what you choose to put in your body will make all the difference. Prioritizing your health is an important aspect of healing as your body needs a sufficient amount of energy to work toward restoring parts that have been operated on.

Everyone’s diet will look a little different depending on allergies or dietary restrictions, but for the most part, you should prioritize including these staples in your diet:

  • Protein
  • Antioxidants
  • Fiber
  • Vitamin C
  • Iron

All of these necessary nutrients will play a role in your body’s recovery, supplying it with vitamins and minerals. In addition to eating the proper food, drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated.


It can be difficult to allow for rest when you are in the midst of recovery and you yearn to get back to your daily life. It is important to remind yourself to take the time to rest, however, since sleeping is when you do the most healing. When sleep occurs, your body releases hormones that aid in muscle building and new tissue growth.

You should expect to sleep an additional amount for about a week or two after surgery. However, listen to your body, as it may need more sleep. Remember, recovery is a process, and slowing down for a little bit is what will get you back to 100 percent.

Physical Recovery

When undergoing an extensive surgery, you can lose mobility and have increased chances of blood clots if you don’t allow your body to move around. Physical therapy is highly effective, and the exercises are designed to cater to a successful recovery. Here are just five of the benefits your body can experience when participating in physical therapy:

  • Increased mobility
  • Improved circulation
  • Minimized pain
  • Less chance of further injury

Doing mobility exercises at home is a great alternative, especially if your surgery doesn’t qualify for one-on-one physical therapy.

Prevent Infection

Your body has just gone through an extreme change. With that in mind, it is important to properly take care of your incisions to reduce the amount of bacteria getting in, potentially putting you at risk for an infection. Infections will slow down your recovery and can even put you in a life-threatening situation. Here are some valuable precautions to take post-surgery to maintain a good wound care routine:

  • Ensure dressings are clean and dry.
  • Wash your hands when changing dressings.
  • If your provider has given you a special soap to wash the site, make sure to follow instructions.
  • Don’t put anything extra on the site unless your provider has instructed you otherwise.

Stay optimistic throughout the healing process as your body is working hard to ensure a full recovery. If you are post-surgery, facilitate a fast recovery by eating a healthy diet, getting plenty of sleep, partaking in physical therapy, and maintaining proper wound care. Consult with your provider regarding specific needs and reach out to them if you notice anything out of the ordinary.

A version of this article was published by The Daily Herald. It has been republished here with permission.


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