Recovering from Cervical Fusion Surgery Like an Athlete

Recover From a Spinal Injury Like a Pro

Athletes tend to have a certain mindset when it comes to recovering from surgery that’s likely to affect their future performance. Even if you’re not a top athlete or weekend warrior, you can still take a cue from some of the steps athletes tend to take while recovering from a procedure like cervical fusion surgery.

Know Your Game Plan

Like a top athlete, you want to be as prepared as possible. In the case of cervical fusion surgery, this means asking lots of questions and knowing what you can expect during the recovery period. For cervical fusion surgery, your recovery game plan is likely to include:

• Physical therapy (to strengthen/recondition neck muscles)
• Modified movements (to avoid re-injury)
• Self-monitoring (to ensure proper healing)

There’s No ‘I’ In Team

Successful athletes know that winning is a team effort. The same is true with your surgery. Accept all of the help that’s offered, whether it is from nurses, members of your surgical team, friends, family members or a combination of all of these. You’ll likely need the following assistance after your cervical fusion surgery:

• Someone to drive you home from the hospital
• Help with household chores (including anything involving heavy lifting or repetitive movements)
• Someone to inspect your incision area for signs of infection

Don’t Get Back in the Game Too Soon

As hard as it may be to do so, avoid the temptation to do too much too soon. While there’s nothing wrong with doing some “warm-ups” to build up your strength, knowing when to hold back will increase your odds of having a successful recovery. Consistently seek input from your doctor, board-certified surgeon, and physical therapist to ensure that you’re progressing at a pace that’s right for you.

As any top athlete will tell you, it’s best to set your own goals based on your abilities. Avoid the temptation to compare your recovery from cervical fusion surgery to the rate at which others recover. Instead, focus on reaching the finish line at your own pace. Take comfort in knowing that fusion surgery is more accurate and successful today than it was even a decade ago, so you’ll likely be back in the game before you know it.

For more information on cervical or neck surgery or to get a second opinion, call (310) 828-7757 and request an in-person consultation with Dr. Hyun Bae, Medical Director at The Spine Institute Center in Los Angeles. His extensive experience in minimally invasive, non-fusion, and fusion technologies will ensure you understand all possible treatment options.