Common Questions Asked Prior to Spine Surgery:
1)Will I need a brace or walker/cane after surgery?
Your surgeon will determine if you will need to wear a neck/back brace after your surgery and this will be explained either prior to surgery or before you are discharged from the hospital.
If you are having difficulty walking after surgery or you feel your balance is a detriment to your safety, then you may need to use a cane or a walker for a short time until you recover your ability to ambulate independently. The nursing and physical therapy staff at the hospital will determine if you are a candidate for an assistive device for gait. If you are released and sent home, but then feel you are unsafe, then contact your surgeon’s office to request such a device.
2)How much pain will I have after surgery?
Most patients experience some form of pain after spine surgery. There can be incisional-related pain. At times, you may have a return/increase of arm/leg pain due to the nerves being irritated during surgery and once you start moving around. There can be muscles spasms that occur while you are healing. It is not unusual to have episodes of more pain after surgery. This does not mean it is a sign of problems with the surgery, but instead that healing is progressing. Over time, these flare-ups should become less frequent and less severe.
3)When will I be allowed to drive again?
Most people will not be able to drive for approximately 2 weeks after surgery. The main reason is that patients should not drive while taking pain medications. Once the pain medications are discharged, a patient can drive if they feel safe/confident maneuvering the vehicle and are not limited by their brace (if wearing one).
4)When will I start physical therapy?
The surgeon will determine when you are ready to begin physical therapy. This is dependent on what kind of surgery you’ve had. Physical therapy is typically started 2-4 weeks after surgery.
5)What will physical therapy consist of?
Physical therapy is important after surgery so that you may regain your full function. PT programs are individualized and are dependent on what your activity level was before your problem/injury. Our main goal is to decrease pain, restore range of motion, and maximize strength. You should be able to return to most of the activities you enjoyed before your surgery.
6)When can I begin my regular activities?
It is important to allow proper soft tissue and bone healing after a surgery. While you can begin to perform easier self-care tasks immediately, higher level activities will take time. Most people can expect to begin their regular activities from 4-12 weeks after their surgery. However, each case is different and you will be guided by your physical therapist and surgeon as to when you can return to these specific activities.
7)How long will it take me to recover from my surgery?
Recovery from surgery is different for each individual and also dependent on what kind of surgery you’ve had.
After discectomy/foraminotomy you may have ongoing pain as the nerves heal, but these symptoms should get better in a few weeks (6-8 weeks). Recovery from a lumbar fusion is longer. It takes at least 3-4 months after surgery for your bones to heal and healing can continue for at least a year.
Call for an Appointment (775) 828-2866
One of the key advantages of Sierra Regional Spine Institute is that spine patients can receive the full array of services and expertise under one roof. Following surgery, or as part of prescribed non-surgical care, Physical Therapy is available to our patients. Our experienced team of Physical Therapists and Athletic Trainers can help guide you to health following treatment using the latest techniques and equipment.
Our HealthStyles Program, offers an affordable, ongoing fitness and wellness program, once you have recovered from injury.
Ask your Doctor about a prescription for HealthStyles™.