Doctors and spine surgeons have a firm grasp on the mechanics of spine surgery. On the other hand, the recovery process tends to be different for every patient. Oftentimes, the best pre-surgery advice comes from patients who have already undergone the procedure.
The recovery process following spine surgery, especially fusion surgery, is a slow process. Realistically, full recovery takes anywhere from 1 to 2 years.
Make an Effort to Walk
Avoid excessive bed rest. Get up frequently to walk and stretch the muscles. The standard recommendation is about a mile per day.
Avoid Bending, Lifting, and Twisting
While it may be difficult to avoid any bending, lifting, or twisting if you have kids or a job requiring some type of lifting, such movements can result in re-injury. Know when to ask for help as you recover.
Embrace Gentle Exercise
Light exercise is likely to be beneficial following fusion or decompression spine surgery. While you’ll want to check with your doctor first, gentle stretching strengthens core abdominal and back muscles. A physical therapist can provide recommendations specific to your capabilities.
Seek a Second Opinion
There’s nothing wrong with getting a second opinion before committing to surgery, especially if you have any lingering doubts. Just because you seek other opinions, however, doesn’t mean you can’t still return to the surgeon who first recommended the procedure after you’ve sought additional input.
Listen to Your Body
Pay attention to what your body will be telling you following surgery. If you find yourself experiencing sudden pain that’s relatively mild, take a break. Visit your doctor if pain persists or becomes progressively worse.
Maintain a Positive Attitude
Attitude will play a big role in your recovery. Having realistic expectations ahead of time can help you maintain a positive attitude.
Additional recommendations shared by patients include making an effort to quit smoking, losing weight, and eating more protein to build muscle. Consider reviewing patient comments online or asking your surgeon if you may speak with other patients who’ve had your procedure if you need further assurance prior to surgery.
For a second opinion or to learn more about back treatments right for you, reach out to Dr. Hyun Bae, Medical Director of The Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration. Dr. Bae is a leader in minimally invasive spine surgery and can ensure you’re presented with all of your treatments options. Call (310) 828-7757 today and request an in-person consultation.