What to Expect After Surgery
The road to recovery — at Laser Spine Institute it’s a journey we’re committed to sharing with you. Whether you’ve already had one of our minimally invasive surgeries or are still searching for the most effective solution to your chronic neck or back pain, we’re here to help you through the process. While each patient’s recovery time may differ depending on their personal health history and the type of procedure they undergo, most patients experience relief within a 12 week period.* For patients undergoing a minimally invasive stabilization surgery, recovery times may require vary and longer periods of rest and recuperation.
To make sure you stay on course during your recovery process, you can expect to be contacted by a member of our clinical staff. Our team will reach out to you at approximately one, two, six and 12 weeks after your surgery. Laser Spine Institute will also coordinate your continued plan of care and address any questions you may have.
Postoperative Care at Home
Following your physician’s instructions after you leave Laser Spine Institute is necessary to help you heal. Be sure to take medications as prescribed and always keep your aftercare appointments. And even if you start to feel better right away, don’t overdo it. Most of the time, a gradual return to your normal routine is recommended.
We’re here 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help you through your recovery process. Call your SPINE LINE with any questions you may have after surgery.
Frequently asked questions:
Is it safe to lift, bend or twist right after surgery?
Do not lift more than 5 pounds for the first week following surgery. We also recommend that you do not participate in sustained or repetitive reaching, bending or twisting especially overhead, for up to six weeks after surgery. Do not lift more than 10 to 15 pounds one to two weeks after surgery. Use proper body mechanics and only lift as tolerated. After four weeks and up to eight weeks after surgery, lift up to 25 pounds as tolerated. If you have had a minimally invasive stabilization, follow your physician’s instructions on lifting limits.
When can I drive?
Do not drive within the first 24 hours after surgery or while under the influence of pain medications or muscle relaxers. If you are in the passenger seat, take care when getting in and out of your vehicle. Try not to bend from your spine; instead bend from your hips and slowly sit down onto the car seat. Then gently slide your feet into the car. Have your Care Partner help you so you can close the door.
I enjoy taking walks. When can I resume this activity?
The first three days after surgery, attempt to take two to three walks for five to 10 minutes while wearing your support. On days four to 14, attempt three to four walks daily between 10 to 20 minutes as tolerated. Listen to your body. If an activity or exercise hurts, stop performing it or avoid it totally.
When can I return to work?
You may return to work with the necessary restrictions depending on your surgeon’s recommendation, type of surgery performed, specific job description and prior fitness level. A return-to-work form may be obtained by calling your SPINE LINE, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Will I feel pain after surgery?
Feeling some pain after surgery is normal. In fact, it is not unusual to experience the following symptoms in the first few weeks after surgery:
- Pain in and around the incision site.
- Some intermittent leg pain with lumbar surgery and arm pain with cervical surgery.
- Intermittent numbness or tingling of the leg, foot, arm or hand.
- Mild swelling at the incision site.
- Occasional muscle tightness or spasm of the back or leg (lumbar surgery,) neck or shoulder (cervical surgery).
- Pain when moving from the bed, a chair, a standing position, desk work or watching TV.
When can I resume sexual activities?
For the first two weeks following surgery, do not participate in sexual activity. Two to six weeks after surgery, you may participate as a passive partner. Six to twelve weeks after surgery, you may be sexually active with caution.
*Individual spine conditions, treatment and recovery times may vary. Each patient’s experience with minimally invasive spine surgery will differ.