After back surgery care and guidelines

After back surgery, you will be expected to follow a set of guidelines given by your surgeon to promote a safe and healthy recovery. These guidelines will help you understand what to expect and how to heal your muscles and spine properly without injuring yourself. Ideally, you should consult your surgeon before your operation to know what to expect during your recovery period so you can make accommodations, such as having someone drive you around for the first few days after back surgery.

Although you will experience some pain following a minimally invasive spine surgery, your comfort level should improve steadily after the first two or three days. To help you prepare for your recovery period, take a moment to review some general recommendations similar to that which you will receive after surgery.

The initial two weeks after back surgery

After your procedure, you may be given a supportive brace, which you should wear as you move about during the day, but not while you sleep. It is important to keep your surgical dressing dry, so use caution when showering.

At your postoperative appointment, your surgeon will likely provide you with the go-ahead to shower carefully, but you should not soak in a bathtub or go swimming during this time. While rest is important, limited movement that gradually increases over time will help your body heal, and icing your surgical site may help with any discomfort you experience. Finally, a critical aspect of your care after back surgery will be refraining from working, lifting and strenuous activity in the first two weeks following your procedure.

The final four weeks after back surgery

As part of your recovery after back surgery, your physician will need to check your wound and monitor your progress, so it’s important to schedule your follow-up appointments at the recommended frequency. You should continue to increase your movement, as tolerated, with the goal of being able to walk two miles without pain at the end of the six-week postsurgical period. Depending on your individual circumstances, your physician may authorize you to return to work after two to six weeks, but you must continue to avoid extreme activities.

By being well informed and realistic about what to expect before, during and after your spinal procedure, you can increase your confidence level and enhance the likelihood of a successful outcome. If you have any questions during your recovery period, contact our nurses and spine care experts on our SPINE LINE for assistance.