Back in the day, as few as even 10 years ago, back surgery meant at least six weeks of bed rest and another six to eight weeks of painful, rehabilitative exercise. Back surgery rehab was a long-drawn-out process that you had to prepare for well in advance.
Thanks to advancements in minimally invasive techniques that the doctors at the Southeastern Spine Institute (SSI) have perfected, your back surgery rehab often can begin after only one day of rest. Keep in mind, however, that everyone is different and every body reacts differently to surgery. The point is that back surgery does not have to keep you out of commission for long periods of time.
Tackling Back Problems from Many Different Angles
Physicians who perform back surgery used to be compared to carpenters: they attacked every problem with a hammer. Today, the doctors and surgeons at SSI approach back problems with a multi-disciplined strategy. Every step is taken to avoid surgery. And when it’s necessary, the very minimum of harm is done to the surrounding muscle tissues, nerves and bones.
Very often, your back pain can be treated with a same-day surgical procedure called a Micro Endoscopic Discectomy, which is performed on an outpatient basis. You can return home after a brief observation period. The procedure is so non-invasive, you can return to normal daily activities around the house within days. And depending on the type of work you do, you may be allowed to return within a week or two.
Back Surgery Rehab
If you require surgery, your team of spine physicians at SSI closely monitors your rehabilitation. While the process may be slightly different for each patient, your rehabilitation likely will follow a safe, proven routine:
- Pain management is a priority because you can’t perform the necessary rehabilitation exercises if you’re suffering. In addition to medication, your rehab specialist may rely on:
- Ice packs
- Electrical stimulation (TENS)
- Various recovery-oriented movements
- Certain positions of your spine
- An individualized training program is designed to help you get back to your normal routine as quickly as possible. Back surgery rehab not only focuses on keeping your spine healthy, but also on rebuilding your muscle strength. Common means can include:
- Exercises that target the muscles near your incision
- Therapy for the muscles weakened before your surgery
- Stabilization exercises for your lower back
- You’ll learn the most appropriate exercises from your physical therapist and then continue them at home throughout your back surgery rehab process. Your therapist will design an exercise program that will maximize your recovery and usually refrains from any high-impact exercises like running. Common back surgery rehab exercises include:
- Stationary bike
- Ankle pumps
- Range of motion exercises
- Resistance bands
A few other tips to get you through your back surgery rehab:
- Tell your therapist or doctor when you feel pain
- Find a comfortable position that allows you to get sufficient sleep
- Follow your doctor’s instructions closely
- Wear a brace if it’s prescribed
- Eat a healthy diet that includes fiber, fruits and vegetables to avoid constipation
If you have further questions, contact SSI by email or give us a call at 866-774-6350.