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Spine Surgery Recovery Time

Spine Surgery Recovery Time

Recovering from any surgery is a long and difficult process. The spine surgery recovery time varies from person to person and depends on the kind of surgery performed. At the same time, there are many other factors too, which will decide one's recovery time.
Bhakti Satalkar
Last Updated: Apr 9, 2018
If you have been suffering from chronic neck pain or back pain, spine surgery can be an option to get rid of the pain. However, you will need to think about if spine surgery is indeed required, as not everyone can cope with the aftereffects of spine surgery. At the same time, it is important that you take the approximate spine surgery recovery time into consideration before you actually decide upon it. If you have just gotten this surgery done, a piece of advise would be to not to push yourself, but to rest. If the spine is not given sufficient time to recuperate, then the recovery time will increase. The recovery process is only complete when the damaged tissues heal and the patient rebuilds his/her strength in the spine.
Cervical Spine Surgery
In cervical spine surgery, a herniated disc, also known as slipped disc, is a very common problem. Cervical surgery is performed in the neck so as to have access to the spine. Common to any surgery, the cervical spine surgery isn't easy to recover from, but it is nonetheless an invasive procedure. There are a few factors that will decide the time a patient will spend in the hospital. These factors are:
  • How well the surgery went.
  • What the surgeon says about the surgery and what will follow.
  • How did the patient's body react to the surgery.

A patient is required to stay in the hospital for a minimum period of a week, after the surgery. Depending on the patient's condition, the doctors can ask the patient to walk around a little or get up on the first or second day of the surgery. This is done in order to alleviate pressure on the spine.
The patient should take approximately 5 weeks from the time he returns home, after the surgery was performed, to recover completely. The patient should take care that he does not put undue pressure on the spine during this period. Stress laid on the neck hampers the patient's chances of a full recovery and also increases recovery time. Before you leave the hospital to come home after the surgery, make sure you have a word with your surgeon about the dos and don'ts of your everyday routine.
Lumbar Spine Surgery
Lumbar spine surgery is performed on the lower back to alleviate lower back pain. Pain in the lower back is often confused with sciatica. It can be performed as an open spine surgery as well as by using a minimally invasive technique. When the surgery is done by using a minimally invasive technique, a small incision is made in the patient's side where a series of small holes are made along the spine. The open spine surgery recovery period takes anywhere between 6 to 12 months to get over. In a minimally invasive spinal surgery scenario, it takes anywhere between 4 to 6 weeks to recover.
Recovery from Spine Surgery
Recovering from spine surgery is a long process, especially if open spine surgery is performed. To shorten the spine surgery recovery period, the patient will have to undergo a strict rehabilitation process. The two factors that will decide the recovery period, is the body's ability to heal quickly, and the overall strength of the patient. In a bid to recover faster from the surgery, the patient should not push oneself, as it can cause a setback in the recovery process. After undergoing spine surgery, one must be ready to take ample amount of rest to facilitate faster recovery.
Once you come back home, you should try to resume your normal activities slowly and steadily. It is best not to walk around too much in the kitchen after a back surgery. You may be of the opinion, that working in the kitchen is a simple task and will not cause a lot of stress on your spine. However, it is not the case. Therefore, it is best to stick to easy-to-make meals. Also, if there are certain items that you may need daily that are placed closer to the floor or way higher than your height, then you will want to need someone to help you reach out for these things. Tell whoever is taking care of you, to place these things at arm's reach at a level that is easy to reach for, without straining your back.
You can speak to your surgeon and start an exercise program. The simplest of all exercises is to walk, as often as possible on an even surface. First start with short distances and gradually you can increase the distance. Remember not to stand or sit for too long at a stretch, as this can put strain on your spine. After spine surgery, it is very common to have a stiff back. If you have a stiff back with a mild or dull back pain, walking a short distance, or even taking a warm shower, will work to disperse the pain.
In case the mattress you sleep on is not stiff, it is advisable that you invest in a firm mattress. Last but not the least, take care of the incision. If you notice redness, swelling or oozing from the incision, consult your surgeon, without wasting any time. When you are recovering from spine surgery, you will have to ensure you do not bend, lift a heavy object, twist yourself, or try indulge in vigorous activity. All of these can lay stress on the spine immensely, which in turn will hinder the rehabilitation process.
Physiotherapy is also suggested for fast recovery. Physical therapy is often suggested anywhere between four to six weeks after the surgery. However, this time can vary from one patient to another, depending on the severity of the case. In case there are muscle spasms or pain in the leg, changing positions help. It is important that you take enough rest without exerting your body.
As time goes by you can slowly incorporate your daily schedule into your routine, and consult your physician before you start any back exercises to regain your strength. Give your spine time to heal and don't give in to impatience, for this will only extend the recovery period or make things worse.