Physical therapy after neck or back surgery is an extremely important component of the recovery process and can be the difference between a successful surgery and a failed back surgery. In the most basic sense, physical therapy is used to help patients regain their strength and return to normalcy, but physical therapy after neck surgery or back surgery is also effective for treating pain, reducing the chance of internal scar tissue and limiting the chance of injuring the spine again.
It stands to reason that the specific type and duration of physical therapy varies, depending on each patient and the procedure performed. Physical therapy after traditional open back surgery, for example, will typically begin slowly and eventually progress in scope over the following months. Regardless of the procedure, physicians uniformly agree that physical therapy quickens the healing process.
Physical therapy after back surgery helps patients:
- Regain muscle strength and endurance
- Increase flexibility and mobility
- Address lingering postoperative pain and discomfort
- Bolster stamina
- Reduce the chance of internal scar tissue formation
A physical therapist will help develop a specific exercise plan for each patient after surgery. These exercises help strengthen the spine and also address underlying problems (such as bad posture), as well as improve coordination, fitness and general health. In some instances, physical therapy after major back surgery may be required to help regain basic body mechanics.
The specific amount of physical therapy required after back surgery depends on the surgery and the patient. However, once patients have sufficiently addressed their pain and regained strength, they can typically continue their exercise plan at home without supervision.
It is also important to note that patients who undergo minimally invasive, outpatient procedures typically require less physical therapy than a patient who undergoes traditional open back surgery. This is one reason minimally invasive surgery of the neck and back have become an increasingly popular alternative. To learn more about these procedures, and for a free review of your MRI or CT scan, contact the staff at Laser Spine Institute today.