You're not the only one concerned about the recovery process following back pain surgery. Increasing numbers of Americans are turning to surgery to alleviate their back pain. The number of adults in the United States who have chronic back pain increased by 64% between 2000 and 2007.
Meanwhile, between 1998 and 2008, the number of hospital discharges for lumbar fusions rose by 170.9 percent, while laminectomies rose by 11.3 percent. Back surgeries are more common, but the fundamentals of a good recovery remain the same.
The time it takes to recover from back surgery depends on the procedure. Discectomy recovery time ranges from six to eight weeks.
Laminectomy or fusion surgery, on the other hand, takes longer to recover from. Your body may need up to 12 weeks to fully recover from these "more involved" procedures. Healing can last for up to a year in some cases.
If you had a spinal fusion, you could expect to be out of work for four to six weeks if you are young, healthy, and your job isn't particularly physically demanding. Returning to work after major surgery can take anywhere from four to six months for the elderly.
The time it takes to recover from back surgery isn't solely determined by the procedure itself. Pre-surgery fitness, age, and the severity of your condition all play a role. As we get older, our bodies ability to heal decreases, making recovery times longer.
Avoiding bending, lifting, and twisting while recovering from back surgery is essential, no matter how well your pain is controlled. Excessive pressure is placed on your spine when you bend over, lift more than ten pounds, or twist your torso.
It is necessary to slow down and be mindful to avoid bending, lifting, and twisting, which we perform daily without even realizing it. Squat down instead of bending your knees to get to something on the floor.
You can use a reacher, a claw on a long handle that can be used to grab light items like a magazine, phone, or remote control while keeping your spine in a neutral position if squatting is too difficult for you. Having a pair of sturdy slip-shoes or slippers on hand for when you're recuperating is also an excellent idea. Putting on socks and shoes doesn't have to be a struggle.
Avoid torso twisting by moving your entire body while maintaining proper alignment of your hips and shoulders. This is especially true when getting in and out of bed or a car (or any other vehicle, for that matter). When it's time for bed:
Are you preparing for a back operation? Take a long-term view of your recovery and use these pointers to get back on track.
Make some appointments even if you don't know what your post-op schedule will look like, knowing that you can always change them if necessary. You'll have one less thing to worry about after surgery when you're groggy and dealing with recovery.
As you get ready for your back surgery, remember that recovering will take time and effort. Preparing for surgery, maintaining an active lifestyle following surgery, and working with a physical therapist are all ways to expedite the healing process and help you get back into the swing of things sooner rather than later.