Perhaps the most important aspect of spine surgery is the back surgery rehabilitation process. Clearly, the decision to undergo any spine surgery is not to be taken lightly, and patients must prepare to commit to rehabilitation afterward to help ensure that their procedure is a success. Specific back surgery rehabilitation varies – both in implementation and length. Different surgeries require different levels of rehabilitation, but at the very least, a patient can expect pain control, exercise and education to be involved.
It goes without saying that a patient needs to recover after any surgical procedure. During this time of healing – either at a hospital or home – the patient needs to work closely with his or her physician to both identify a plan and set realistic goals for recovery. After traditional open back surgery, rehabilitation typically entails:
- A period of pain and discomfort, minimized with pain medication and the application of ice
- Hospitalization for post-operation monitoring and also to help with initial movement
- Discharge from the hospital, after which patients will need to continue resting, but also will need to get out of bed and move around periodically, which encourages the healing process
- The beginning of a minor exercise regimen
- Eventually working with a physical therapist to complete rehabilitation
It is important to remember that back surgery rehabilitation is different for everyone. Patients recovering from intrusive, traditional open back surgery which may include spinal fusion or a laminectomy will experience longer and more difficult rehabilitation than an individual who has opted for a minimally invasive operation. In fact, most patients who have undergone minimally invasive surgery for the neck or spine have received outpatient procedures.
Regardless of the back surgery, rehabilitation is an integral part of any operation, and it is directly tied to the success rate of the procedure. The most important thing a patient can do is become educated on the origin of his or her back pain, understand the potential implication of surgery and set realistic expectations for recovery.
Contact the staff at Laser Spine Institute to learn how minimally invasive procedures are reducing the intensity and length of back surgery rehabilitation.