If you’ve opted for back surgery or if your spinal physician told you that you needed surgery, it likely means you’ve been experiencing acute back pain, possibly for a long time. Surgery on your spine is a delicate procedure, but if you’ve come to the Southeastern Spine Institute, you and your spine are in good hands. SSI has its own physical therapy department, so your care is coordinated from your first visit to your last.
After you’ve had surgery, it’s time to heal. How long you need to rest before you can get up and start to exercise depends on the type of back surgery you’ve had and your physical condition prior to surgery. But back surgery rehab, including physical therapy, eventually will take you from your bed to your workplace, pain-free and better than ever.
Back Surgery Rehab in General
The SSI back surgeons perform outpatient procedures, so you get to recuperate in the comfort of your own home. All operations require at least a couple days of bed rest, meaning you’re confined to your bed and may need help with meals and getting to the bathroom. During this time, you’ll take prescription medication, as prescribed by your spinal surgeon, to manage your pain and help you sleep.
Physical therapy always follows back surgery. Even after a minor operation, you can benefit from the advice and counsel of a qualified physical therapist. That’s because the process involves as much education as physical exercise.
Physical Therapy in Back Surgery Rehab
Once your pain is under control, and you can move about, it’s time to get back onto your feet. Your physical therapist will work with you to stand, sit and move in a way that will not re-injure your back. These first few steps are crucial because they teach you how to keep yourself healthy. You may learn new things about your posture, your sleeping position and even your diet.
Depending on the type of condition you had and the surgical procedure you underwent, your physical therapist develops a series of exercises and stretches designed to heal and strengthen your back. Some muscles may have been weakened by the incision or from a lifetime of abuse or neglect. It’s your therapist’s job to get you moving the right way by building up the muscles you need.
Specific Physical Therapy Goals
You may have hurt your back, but often your hips, neck, shoulders and joints also were affected. Your back surgery resolved the damage done, but now you have to relearn how to hold yourself and how to move so that you don’t damage another part of your spine. Unless you had a fusion procedure, in which two or more vertebrae are fused together, your flexibility will improve with post-surgical physical therapy.
Exercise will unlock that flexibility for you. Your physical therapist will devise a set of exercises that you should continue to do even after your therapy ends. Exercising and stretching become the new normal for you as you incorporate them into your lifestyle. Back surgery rehab also includes changes to your lifestyle and diet.
Follow the recommendations of your physical therapist. After suffering debilitating back pain and having to undergo a surgical solution, you do not want to return to that back pain. Physical therapy gets you back to work and to your normal life, but it’s up to you to remain healthy, happy and pain-free.