After back surgery pain — what to do if it becomes severe

Experiencing pain after back surgery can be alarming, but it is typically a part of the recovery process. In fact, after neck or back surgery, pain is common for at least the first few days following the procedure.

For patients who undergo minimally invasive spine surgery at Laser Spine Institute, the risk of complications and recovery time are lower^ than patients who choose traditional open back surgery. Nevertheless, experiencing pain and discomfort during your spine surgery recovery is sometimes disconcerting and should be mentioned to your physician or surgeon, especially if the pain worsens or remains for several days or weeks after surgery.

In order to prevent some of the fear the can accompany pain after surgery, it is important that you understand what to expect after your procedure.

What you can expect to feel after spine surgery

Your surgeon will provide clear instructions about your activity guidelines, wound care and medication for pain after back surgery. During the first two to three days, you will feel pain in the surgical area, but your discomfort will soon begin to disappear.

Your surgeon will outline the approximate recovery time based on your surgery, medical history and current lifestyle. This will help you make arrangements during your recovery period, such as transportation for the first several days.

How to alleviate your pain after spine surgery

The best advice for relieving pain after back surgery is to listen to your body. If a certain movement causes you pain, you should stop, rest and apply an ice pack, if necessary. By carefully pacing your activity level, you can strengthen your body and improve its healing response. However, you should only perform those activities that fall within your pain-free range, being careful not to overdo it during those first few critical weeks following your surgery.

A good balance is key. You’ll want to avoid repetitive motions, but at the same time, it’s best to change positions often, going from sitting to standing to lying down. Your surgeon or physical therapist will recommend a specific exercise routine to help you resume your regular activities as quickly as possible. The healing period for minimally invasive spinal surgery can vary greatly among patients. Your surgeon will provide information specific to your individual circumstances to help you on your way to recovery.

If you have any questions about your recovery process after minimally invasive spine surgery at Laser Spine Institute, call our 24-hour SPINE LINE for assistance.

Patients who are considering surgery and want to learn more about the benefits of our minimally invasive spine surgery can contact our dedicated team. We’ll be happy to provide a free MRI review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.