Successful Spine Surgery Depends On Recovery
Had a minimally invasive spine surgery recently? The popularity of spine surgeries has spiked up 60% over the last decade. There are two reasons for this trend. First, more than 80% of Americans will have back pain at some point. Second, minimally invasive spine surgery is becoming more successful and available. With any surgical procedure comes a period of recovery, which can make or break a procedure. So while many patients will be hungry to work out, intense exercise is not the best course of action.
The basics behind spinal surgery
There is a range of reasons for spinal surgery. These reasons can include slipped discs, spinal stenosis, arthritis, injury, and nerve damage. Most spinal surgery procedures involve removing bone, using prosthetics, or fusing vertebrae. What’s more, spinal surgery recovery can take a minimum of 3 months. A full recovery can take anywhere between 9 months to 2 years. During this time, patients will have to limit bending, lifting, climbing stairs, and driving. On a positive note, exercise is a vital part of the recovery process.
On the road to recovery
The recovery process starts as early as the first few days after surgery. The surgeon or clinic will recommend physical therapy with the patient using a walker for added support. Physical therapy involves a range of stretches and exercises. Therapy helps to build lower body strength, core strength, and to reinforce the surgery. These exercises include simple hip and leg flexion, calf raises, and leg extensions. The recovering patient can complete these exercises standing with a wall or walker. For the next 4-6 weeks, activities and general movement will increase in intensity.
Ramping it up
At the 3-6-month mark, the patient should have an improved range of motion and less pain. Physical therapy will then involve more dynamic movement. After a few weeks, the patient should be able to walk unassisted. The recovering patient should be able to resume other tasks like driving, running, or walking long distances. Depending on the procedure, the patient may even be able to resume a normal life.
Can I work out after surgery?
There is still a big question about exercise. Some patients will feel amazing after 3-6 months. However, the spine will need up to 1-2 years to heal fully. Over this period, the goal is to keep the spine in place so proper healing can take place. So persons should approach exercise with extreme caution. Flexing, twisting, or lifting heavy loads too soon can affect the integrity of the procedure. Hardcore exercise raises the chances of revision surgery. As a rule of thumb, seek medical advice before trying any intense workout.
Patience and medical advice is key
The bottom line is that exercising is excellent for recovery. Strenuous exercises, however, ends up being counterproductive in the short-term. The future movement also depends on the procedure and the degree of damage before surgery. As a rule of thumb, avoid serious physical activity during the first 6 months of the operation. More importantly, follow the guidelines of the doctor or physical therapist. For more information, speak with a healthcare provider or spine specialist.