Spine Surgery

June 26, 2017

What Does a Recovery Period for Back Surgery Look Like?


Following your surgeon’s instructions, limiting activity, and actively participating in physical therapy can all play a part in your recovery.

Back pain is a problem for more than 80 percent of the U.S. population. And, for many of them, back surgery is an effective option for limiting or even eliminating that discomfort. However, the journey from back pain to pain-free takes time and special care. While recovery is different for each person, there are some things you can do to make things go a bit easier for you.

What to Expect After Back Surgery
How long is back surgery recovery? Everyone is different, but it generally takes about four weeks for the worst of your back pain to subside after surgery. Pain tends to decrease gradually, and many people will still experience some discomfort from three to six months after surgery.

The time frame for your recovery will depend on the type of surgery you have and your lifestyle.  Recovery will also depend on how well you follow the advice of your surgeon and stick to your recovery plan.

Limit Your Activity
The first few weeks after back surgery are critical to healing, so make sure that you follow your surgeon’s instructions carefully and completely. Even if you feel ready for more activity than your surgeon is recommending, follow your discharge orders in order to heal properly and completely.

Moving in the wrong way could cause the fragile area of your surgical site to shift.  This could result in additional pain or a longer recovery time.  You want to make sure that you limit any twisting or bending motions after back surgery. Try to avoid lifting anything over 10 pounds as instructed by your surgeon.

If your doctor gives you a back brace to help with your recovery, make sure to wear as directed.  Be sure to consult your surgeon if you have questions about the use of a back brace.  Additionally, you will likely require pain medicine while you recover. It is critical that you communicate with your doctor to ensure that you are on an appropriate dose. Follow all your surgeon’s instructions, including guidance on when you are ready to drive your car again.

The Right Activities for Healing
While recovery often involves plenty of rest and attentive care, recovering the right way after back surgery also requires exercise.

Your surgeon might recommend walking as you feel able, moving as much as you can without causing discomfort. Typically, your recover will progress to physical therapy.  This therapy can help you learn ways to move your body and increase healing without injuring yourself.

Physical Therapy generally starts with techniques to help you rethink the way you do everyday activities.  This can include the way you sit, lie down, walk or even swim. Usually you can received therapy through home health or at an outpatient location.  You can expect your physical therapy to last for approximately two months; however, some people will benefit from extended therapy.

If you have questions about the recovery period after your back surgery or have concerns about what to expect, Contact Arkansas Surgical Hospital at (877)918-7020. If you are experiencing back pain and think you are candidate for back surgery, ask your doctor to send you to Arkansas Surgical Hospital. Our back surgeons can help explain the best ways to recover for your specific case.

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