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Recovering from Herniated Disc Surgery


Herniated disc surgery, in any form, will typically aim to remove some or all of a ruptured intervertebral disc in your neck or back to relieve pressure from the spinal cord or a nerve root. Because this surgery is focused on the spine – the complex system of nerve tissue, bones, discs, muscles, ligaments and tendons that protects your nervous system and helps you remain upright and perform many different movements – a successful recovery is essential to regaining and improving your quality of life.

Initial recovery stages

In the early stages following any herniated disc surgery, your physician may recommend a number of treatments to help you through the recovery process. These might include:

  • Resting – If you undergo an open spine surgery, a highly invasive procedure that requires large incisions and muscle dissection, you’ll likely spend the first couple of days after the procedure in the hospital. If you undergo a minimally invasive procedure, you won’t have to rest in a hospital afterward, but will likely be asked to take it easy at home or in a hotel.
  • Taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) – NSAIDs will probably be a large part of your recovery as they can help reduce inflammation in the affected area of the neck or back and relieve mild to moderate pain.
  • Avoiding activities that involve lifting, twisting or bending – Limiting these activities can help ease strain on the affected area of the spine and promote healing.
  • Performing low-impact exercises and/or attending physical therapy sessions – Once you’re able, you may be asked to take walks several times during the day and gradually increase the intensity of your exercise program over time. If necessary, you may be asked to work closely with a physical therapist, who can help you improve your body mechanics by performing certain exercises.

Open spine versus minimally invasive procedures

While a full recovery from an open spine herniated disc surgery could take several months to a year, the recovery associated with a minimally invasive procedure is typically much faster and far less arduous. This is largely because minimally invasive procedures don’t require the large incisions and muscle dissection that open spine surgeries require.

If your physician asks you to consider a surgery to treat your herniated disc, consider the procedures offered at Laser Spine Institute. Our orthopedic surgeons perform a variety of outpatient, minimally invasive procedures to treat herniated discs and other degenerative spine conditions.

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