What Patients Need to Know About Mobility After Surgery

After Surgery Tips for Los Angeles, CA

When something is preventing your spine from moving as it was designed to move, spine surgery in Los Angeles may become a viable option after conservative treatments have been exhausted. Even if you’re fully prepared for the surgery itself, the initial limited mobility, sometimes greater than what was experienced prior to surgery, can be frustrating.

Post-Surgery Muscle Weakness

Muscles supporting the spine may become weakened during surgery, especially during traditional open surgery where muscles need to be moved out of the way to allow access to the affected area of the back. If those muscles aren’t reconditioned, you may be permanently limited to certain weight restrictions and experience long-term mobility loss.

Preserving Mobility with PT

A delicate balance has to be achieved with post-surgery exercise. Too little activity can result in increased muscle degeneration, and overdoing it may result in re-injury. During follow-up visits, your doctor will evaluate your progress and coordinate with your physical therapist to make necessary adjustments to your routine.

Effectively Managing Pain

It can be difficult to actively participate in PT sessions if you’re still experiencing post-surgery pain. Managing your pain during recovery is likely to be accomplished with both over-the-counter medications and painkillers, which are only meant for short-term use.

Setting Small Goals

Mobility goals following spine surgery are going to be short-term, which can actually help build your confidence as your ability to get around with little or no pain increases. An experienced physical therapist will take your long-term objectives into consideration while planning sessions, although the ultimate concern is your safety. Mobility can often be restored and maintained during the recovery period by:

  • Going for short walks
  • Incorporating enjoyable activities like gardening into your exercise routine
  • Using mobility aids, such as canes and back braces

Some pain following spine surgery is normal. Your doctor will let you know what to expect so you won’t become deterred from exercising. If you suddenly experience worsening pain or a different type of pain, seek medical attention right away. Any spine surgery is a calculated risk. Making an effort to maintain and restore mobility can increase your odds of enjoying a successful outcome.

For more information on spine surgery, including spinal fusions and decompression spine surgeries, reach out to The Spine Institute Center at (310) 828-7757. One of our experienced spine surgeons in Los Angeles can review your individual case and discuss all possible non-surgical and surgical treatment options.