Perhaps the most important aspect of spine surgery is the post-back surgery rehabilitation process. Clearly, the decision to undergo any spine surgery is not to be taken lightly, but patients also must prepare to commit to rehabilitation afterward, to help ensure that their procedure is a success. Specific back surgery rehabilitation can be varied – both in implementation and length – with different surgeries requiring different levels of rehabilitation, but at the very least a patient can expect pain control, exercise, and education.
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 doctor to both identify a plan and set realistic goals for recovery. After major 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 open back surgery such as spinal fusion or a laminectomy will experience longer and more difficult rehabilitation than an individual who has opted for a minimally invasive endoscopic laser operation. In fact, patients who have undergone endoscopic surgery for the neck or spine normally walk out of the clinic the same day as the procedure and begin physical therapy shortly thereafter.
Regardless of the back surgery, rehabilitation is an integral part of any operation and 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 award-winning staff at Laser Spine Institute (LSI), to learn how endoscopic laser procedures are reducing the intensity and length of back surgery rehabilitation and for a free review of your MRI or CT scan.