Managing chronic neck pain after fusion

While spine surgery is usually used to treat chronic pain, after you undergo a traditional open neck fusion you may experience some continued pain and soreness in the neck and radial areas, such as the shoulder or arm. The process during an open neck fusion is highly invasive and your body is going to need extensive time to heal properly after any major procedure.

The long and sometimes difficult recovery after a traditional open neck fusion is due to the large incision and accompanying muscle disruption occurring in the neck to reach the spine. Not only do the muscles require time and rest to heal and rebuild, but the scar tissue that develops around the incision can place internal pressure on the spine and surrounding muscles.

As you begin your recovery process, you should remain patient and listen to your body. Performing demanding or even mildly strenuous activities too soon can cause injury and damage to your spine, possibly resulting in chronic pain and a longer recovery period. Follow these general guidelines throughout your recovery process to promote safe healing.

Tips for recovery after a traditional open spine fusion

In traditional open spinal fusion surgery, patients can feel significant discomfort from the operation and even continued chronic neck pain after the fusion surgery is completed. This happens because the body has been put through significant trauma and needs to recover. Other considerations after fusion surgery include:

  • Pain management. Initial pain medication is administered intravenously. Eventually, oral medication will be prescribed once the patient is ready.
  • Limited activity. In the hours after an operation, the patient will want to rest and recover, but it is also important to avoid becoming entirely sedentary. Just getting up to walk down the hall can be beneficial long term.
  • Food/drink. Usually, liquids and ice are the only things a person can handle immediately after an operation.
  • Rehabilitation. In the weeks following an operation, physical therapy and rehabilitation are required to regain strength. This occasionally will begin in the hospital and can last for several months after the surgery.

Minimally invasive spine surgery to treat chronic neck pain

If you are dealing with chronic neck pain and still deciding on whether or not traditional open neck surgery is right for you, take a moment to consider an alternative with our minimally invasive surgery at Laser Spine Institute. Our medically advanced techniques offer our patients a shorter recovery time^ and lower risk of complication than traditional open neck surgery.

For more information about the benefits of our minimally invasive stabilization surgery, which is an outpatient alternative to traditional fusions, please contact our team at Laser Spine Institute today. We are happy to offer a no-cost MRI review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.