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Steps to Recovery

Postsurgical activity and management guidelines

As you start on the road to recovery, Laser Spine Institute wants to ensure that you are comfortable and well-educated about your experience. Rest assured, you are in the hands of the industry experts, and we welcome you to the Laser Spine Institute family.

  • Listen to your body - If an activity or exercise hurts, stop performing it or avoid it totally. Perform all activities in your pain-free range. If you do experience an increase in pain, then rest and apply ice.
  • Ice pack usage - Begin to use your ice pack the day of surgery and for the next two weeks. Lie on your back with pillows under your knees and place the ice at your neck or low back area where your surgery was performed. Remain on ice for 15 to 20 minutes and off for two hours, repeating three to four times per day. If unable to lie on your back, lie on your side with a pillow between your knees.
  • Activity pacing - The first three days after surgery, attempt to take two to three walks between five and 10 minutes each, wearing your support. For the next two weeks, attempt to take three to four walks daily between 15 to 20 minute durations. As your walk time increases, decrease the number of walks per day. Do not perform any one activity for a prolonged period of time, i.e., greater than 30 minutes. Listen to your body; if it hurts, stop or don't perform that activity until a future time.
  • Sustained postures - Avoid staying in one posture for too long a time, i.e., greater than 10 to 20 minutes. Change positions frequently, going from sitting to standing to lying periodically over the next two weeks.
  • Repetitive motions - Avoid activities that require you to frequently bend over or look up and down. If you must perform a repetitive activity, be sure to break up the task and take frequent rests. Use correct body mechanics for these activities.
  • Exercise - You will receive an online prescription with exercises based on your pathology and specific surgical procedure. You can gradually return to your exercise routine. Generally speaking, you should strive for cross-training. This simply means to vary the parts of your body you exercise. Do not always perform the same aerobic or strengthening exercise. Remember to alternate between recumbent exercise bike, elliptical trainer, treadmill, walking, strength training or aquatic exercise.
  • Strenuous exercise involving weights or loads - You should wait six to eight weeks after surgery and be under supervision. Avoid any heavy pushing, pulling or lifting with weights during exercise and/or lifting heavy loads at home or work. If you return to a gym program, you will want to focus on lighter weights and more repetitions.
  • Lumbar corsets - The corset is provided to offer extra support during the first two weeks of the healing phase. It should fit snugly but not increase pain at all. Use of the corset will depend on your specific surgery. Use the corset during activity phases such as standing or walking, but not during sitting or lying. After two to four weeks, it is not necessary to continue using the corset unless for support during strenuous activities.
  • Cervical collars - This is also used to provide a support and a resting position for the neck. It should be used during driving, walking and physical activities to support the neck and also during sitting, reading or computer work. Use of the collar will depend on your specific surgery.
  • Physical therapy - It usually starts two to six weeks after surgery, should you need it, or your surgeon recommends it. Your surgeon's nurse will provide you with the necessary prescription for this.

Further guidelines for returning to all activities

Throughout the experience and surgery at Laser Spine Institute, all your treatment and concerns will be addressed by the medical staff. Each patient has individual circumstances that require specific answers and management.

Should you have any problems or unanswered questions, please contact us.

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