Rehabilitation after back surgery

The rehabilitation period after back surgery is almost as equally important to your overall pain relief as the back surgery itself. Rehabilitation after back surgery allows the spine to adjust to its new support and stability and the muscles surrounding the spine to strengthen and help support the body to prevent future spine damage.

You should be given rehabilitation guidelines to help you slowly get back into moving your body and completing your daily activities without the same pain or discomfort you experienced before surgery. Remember that during this period, you should always try to listen to your body and follow the guidelines instructed by your surgeon. Many patients feel pain free for the first time in years after back surgery.

While this is a wonderful indication of the success of your back surgery, you still want to take your recovery period seriously. Just because your spine feels great right now doesn’t mean your muscles are used to moving and lifting. Remember that for months or years before your surgery, you were not able to perform daily tasks. You need to ease your muscles back into activities slowly through the recommendations described below.

The purpose of muscle strength during back surgery rehabilitation

For many back surgery rehabilitation plans, there is a large emphasis on core muscle strength and movement. Since you are recovering from spine surgery, it may seem counterintuitive to focus on rehabilitating your core muscles and not necessarily your spine. The purpose of focusing on core muscle strength after back surgery is to help support the spine as it heals.

The muscles surrounding the spine serve to not only keep the spine in proper alignment but also to help carry the weight of the body so the spine is not compressed over time. For some patients, physical therapy may be required as part of the back surgery rehabilitation plan. This may require weekly visits to a medical professional who can supervise your form during certain exercises and help create a personalized plan to fit your recovery needs.

Other patients may be given a set of daily exercises and stretches to perform at home after surgery. For example, at Laser Spine Institute, we have a variety of daily activity and postsurgical exercise videos that discuss effective body mechanics which aid in the recovery process. To view our library of videos, visit

The importance of back surgery rehabilitation

It is important to remember that back surgery rehabilitation is different for everyone. Patients recovering from highly invasive traditional open back surgery, which may include spinal fusion or a laminectomy, may experience a longer and more difficult rehabilitation compared to the no lengthy recovery^ that minimally invasive procedures offer.

In fact, most patients who have undergone minimally invasive surgery at Laser Spine Institute experience a lower risk of complication compared to patients who choose traditional open back surgery.^ Regardless of the type of back surgery performed, rehabilitation is a fundamental part of any operation and plays an important role in the overall outcome of the procedure, though it is not the only factor for success.

Throughout your back surgery rehabilitation, you should stay in contact with your physician or spine care specialist to make sure you are healing properly. Always inform your doctor about any pain or discomfort you are feeling during your recovery. He or she may be able to find some alternative exercises and stretches to better help you recover without pain. For more information about what to expect during your back surgery rehabilitation, contact Laser Spine Institute today.

At Laser Spine Institute, 88 percent of our patients have reported returning to daily activities within three months after our minimally invasive decompression surgery.^ If you are interested in finding out if you are a potential candidate for our outpatient procedures, reach out to our team today and ask for a free MRI review.* We can help guide you on your journey to wellness.