Spine surgery recovery — the importance of staying active after surgery

Whether you have just undergone or are planning to undergo spine surgery, it is important for you to know what to expect during your postoperative recovery process. Spine surgery can be a complex procedure and it is important that you follow the guidelines given by your physician and surgical team to make sure that you recover safely.

At Laser Spine Institute, we have a care team devoted to helping patients during the entire spine surgery process, both preoperative and postoperative. Our care team can help you plan your schedule during your recovery period regarding how much time you should take off from work and what activities you should plan to do each day to help your spine heal. Laser Spine Institute patients will receive a folder describing in detail what to expect during the recovery period and what activities to avoid. If at any point in your postoperative recovery you have a question or concern, please do not hesitate to contact our SPINE LINE for help.

Staying active during your recovery period

A common mistake made by patients during the recovery following spine surgery is to remain sedentary. This mistake is made for two main reasons: people who have been in back pain for years are used to a sedentary lifestyle and people are afraid to overwork their muscles after a spine surgery.

While it is important to not overdo any activity during your recovery period, even if you feel completely healed immediately following surgery, you must not remain sedentary. You should move around to avoid stiff muscles and joints, as well as blood clots and other general complications that accompany a sedentary lifestyle.

Be sure to consult your physician or care team before starting a new activity during your recovery period. You should only perform low-impact activities and exercises during the first six weeks of recovery, and avoid lifting any weights without medical supervision. The most beneficial low-impact exercises during your postoperative recovery include:

  • Walking
  • Elliptical training
  • Yoga
  • Physical therapy
  • Swimming (after incision has been checked by physician and cleared for water contact)

If you feel pain or discomfort at all during your activity, stop and rest. If the pain continues, contact your physician or our SPINE LINE for guidance.