What to avoid while you recover from surgery for arthritis of the spine

Arthritis of the spine describes when the discs in the spine narrow, causing bone spurs to come out due to the worn out nature of the disc. If you are a candidate for the outpatient procedures offered at Laser Spine Institute, our board-certified surgeons+ perform many different treatment options to address this condition. While our surgery is minimally invasive in nature, there are still several limitations that you should expect as you recover from surgery. The most important thing is for you to listen closely to your doctor and make sure that you give your body time to heal. Don’t overdo it, no matter how good you might be feeling.

Typically, the majority of limitations placed on you will occur during the first few months following your procedure at Laser Spine Institute. We use a less than 1-inch incision and take care to push aside muscle tissue rather than cut through it. This procedure has a shorter recovery compared to traditional open spine surgery^ but your body will still need time to recover following your treatment. Although every patient and surgery is unique, the information in the following article, in conjunction with the instructions our team gives you for the first 24 to 48 hours after surgery, can provide you with some general guidelines regarding things to avoid for the 12 weeks following treatment for arthritis of the spine.

Weeks one through two

  • Limit any activity that applies weight to the spine
  • Avoid staying in one position for more than 10 to 20 minutes
  • Seek medical attention if you go more than 48 hours without a bowel movement
  • Do not allow your surgical dressing to get wet
  • Consult your doctor if you develop a cold or a cough
  • You may be sexually active only as a passive partner
  • Do not drive until you are off pain medications and muscle relaxants
  • Do not lift more than 10 to 15 pounds, as tolerated

Weeks two through four

  • Do not lift more than 10 to 15 pounds, as tolerated
  • Do not get your incision wet until it is completely healed
  • Do not carry or pull your luggage if you are traveling
  • Continue to limit activities that apply weight to the spine
  • Avoid sustained postures and limit reading/computer work to 30-minute increments, particularly if you had treatment in your neck
  • Do not drive if you are still taking narcotic pain medication or muscle relaxants

Weeks four through 12

  • Do not lift more than 25 pounds, as tolerated
  • Try to avoid sitting for more than 30 minutes at a time
  • Avoid jobs that require repetitive bending and twisting
  • Only drive if you have stopped taking pain medication or muscle relaxants
  • Do not participate in extreme sports or activities like biking, skiing or horseback riding

Learn more about minimally invasive arthritis of the spine surgery

Of course, depending on your health, your procedure and other relevant variables, your physician may have additional guidelines in mind. To learn more about the specific activities that you’ll need to avoid as you recover from surgery for arthritis of the spine, contact Laser Spine Institute today. If you have yet to undergo arthritis of the spine surgery and are ready for the next step on the road to recovery, reach out to our dedicated team. We can provide you a no-cost MRI review* to learn if our procedures would be effective in relieving your arthritis of the spine symptoms.