If your chronic back pain is no longer being relieved by conservative treatment methods, such as physical therapy and medication, your orthopedic surgeon may recommend back surgery. Patients who undergo a back operation usually have been diagnosed with a herniated disc, spinal stenosis, vertebral fractures, degenerative disc disease, or another type of spine condition that will not go away on its own. In the case of a spinal tumor or nerve root problem, you may need surgery right away.
There are many different types of back surgery, and your recovery from the operation will depend on several factors such as your spine condition, your overall health, and the type of surgery you undergo. An in-depth surgery such as a tumor removal will likely require a longer recuperation period than after a herniated disc repair.
Let’s talk about what you can expect during your recovery period after back surgery, and who you can talk to about how to find lasting relief from your back pain.
Back Surgery Recovery Process
Recovery from back surgery always takes time. It is considered a major surgery particularly because of the vulnerability of the spinal cord, and you have to take time to allow your body to heal – and you will eventually be able to ease back into your activities. Whereas a high-level spine operation such as a laminectomy or spinal fusion will take months to recover from, a microdiscectomy may take only a few weeks.
Following spinal surgery, you will need to follow your surgeon’s instructions about proper wound care. The goal is to prevent infection, so be sure to observe for signs such as feeling warm around the incision site and developing a fever.
Do not allow water to enter the incision site; this means being extra careful in the bathroom. It’s recommended that you place assistive devices, such as handlebars, in your bathroom in order to make your recovery easier and safer.
Pain management is very important during recovery from back surgery, because the pain may become unbearable without medication. The spinal cord is the baseline of all of your body’s nerves, and even the slightest interference with a nerve can cause pain. Take your prescribed pain treatment as your surgeon recommends.
As you continue with your recovery, you should be able to gradually take less and less of your pain medication. Plus, as you increase your activity with stretching and strengthening exercises, you should notice an alleviation of your pain.
Soon following surgery, you may begin physical therapy exercises which can help improve circulation, relieve pain, and restore strength and range of motion of your back and torso. A physical therapist will teach you special stretches and exercises to safely strengthen your back muscles.
However, bending, twisting, and lifting heavy weights are to be avoided. Any strenuous activities should be checked first with your surgeon. Walks are recommended, and you will be asked to avoid sitting down for long periods of time.
Spine Specialist in Rochester Hills, Michigan
At Ahlgren Spine, our medical team is dedicated to the treatment of spinal conditions and injuries that affect a person’s quality of life. Dr. Bradley Ahlgren will diagnose the source of your back pain, repair the issue, and make sure you successfully recover from the surgery.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment with Dr. Ahlgren, contact our friendly staff today by calling us at (248) 215-8080 or by filling out our appointment request form online now. We look forward to helping you enjoy life without back pain again!