What to Expect After Spinal Surgery: A Guide to Recovery

If you have struggled with back pain, you know it can force a change in lifestyle and become debilitating. You and your doctor have decided it’s time to do surgery to address your back issues. What should you expect after surgery?

Spinal surgeries vary depending on their invasiveness and the type. There is a period of recovery post-surgery. Then there is the longer-term recovery and rehabilitation of your back, spine, and muscles.

Read on to learn what to expect after your spinal surgery.

Expectations of Spine Surgery:

Benefits of Doing Spinal Surgery

Despite the pain and discomfort you’ve experienced in your back, you still might be filling a twinge of nervousness regarding your surgery. It’s normal to feel uneasy. Remember to arm yourself with as much information as possible regarding your procedure and the specifics of what to expect.

Here are some positive benefits of back surgery that are worth remembering:

  • Reduce your reliance on pain medication
  • Get back to work
  • Increase mobility and productivity
  • Your movement can increase
  • After therapy, you can be more physically fit

Keep in mind, that back surgery is a process. While you may not immediately be more physically fit, with a healthy back, you can get there.

Post Surgery

Your immediate post-surgery recovery will, of course, require some pain management. Depending on your type of surgery, your doctor may even bring in pain management specialists. You should expect pain management medication for both your time in the hospital and once you are home.

It is likely you will need wound care for up to two weeks following surgery. This might involve keep the incision completely dry and bandage changing.

You can expect some pain, numbness, and weakness in your back as it recovers. The nerves need time to heal along with your spinal bones and muscles.

Above all, it’s important to avoid smoking as your body heals. Tobacco slows down the healing process. You want clean oxygen in your body to help heal your body.

Your surgeon is also likely to restrict your driving. In many cases, the minimum is two weeks. Your surgical team will evaluate your mobility to make an individual decision for you.

Rehabilitation After Surgery

Once your immediate period of recovery has passed you can begin the second phase of your recovery. For example, this will involve rehabilitating your back, spine, and muscles surrounding it.

In many cases, physical and occupational therapy will start almost immediately post-surgery. Their job is to teach how to move to not injure yourself and allow your back time to heal.  This initial phase of therapy will teach you how to get out of bed, get dressed, go from sitting to standing, etc.

Once you are past the initial phase of healing, then your physical therapist can work with strengthening your back. They can teach you about lifting and bending. It’s likely they will give you a regiment of exercises to do for strengthening your back.

Spinal Surgery, Your Guide To Recovery

Lastly, making the decision to have spinal surgery is not one to take lightly. Yet, being prepared with what to expect makes the process less nerve-wracking and more manageable.

If you are struggling with back issues and are ready to get help, we are here to address your back problems. Contact us today for a consultation about your back problems.