5 Things to Consider If You’re Thinking About Spine Surgery Recovery
While the prospect of spinal surgery recovery may seem daunting, the results can be life-changing. If non-surgical treatments just aren’t helping your back pain, surgery may be the next logical step. There are many myths and misconceptions that surround the many procedures that comprise the broader category of “spinal surgery.” Start preparing for spinal surgery by learning more about the specifics of what to expect for your procedure, and discover the facts you need to make the right choice.
Preparing for Spinal Surgery
1. You May Have Minimally Invasive Options
On paper, spine surgery sounds like a major ordeal. While there’s no denying that some spinal procedures are life-changing procedures, depending on your condition, you may have minimally invasive options available. Spinal surgery recovery can be a long and trying process, but you might be surprised to learn that that’s not always the case.
Minimally invasive surgery is still surgery, but it means the surgeon makes smaller cuts that aren’t as physically demanding on your body to heal. Recovery after surgery is faster and less painful with non-invasive procedures, and there’s less risk of infection. Here are some of the conditions that may be able to be treated with minimally invasive surgeries:
- Spinal Infections
- Spinal Tumors
- Spinal Instability
- Lumbar Spinal Stenosis
- Vertebral Compression Fractures
- Spinal Deformities Such as Scoliosis
- Herniated Discs
- Degenerative Disc Disease
2. Spinal Fusion Is the Most Common Back Surgery
Before planning your spinal surgery recovery, it’s important that you know what to expect. If your back pain occurs when you perform common physical activities such as lifting, bending over, or twisting your body, you may need a spinal fusion. A spinal fusion may also be used to treat spinal damage caused by a tumor or infection or to stop a spinal deformity from getting worse over time.
As the name implies, a spinal fusion is when the surgeon fuses two or more vertebrae to stabilize the spine and prevent it from moving. Although preparing for spinal surgery recovery can be nerve-racking, you can take comfort in the fact that although a spinal fusion does limit the motion and stretching associated with the fused vertebrae, most patients can continue their lives with minimal or no changes to their mobility.
Spinal fusion is the most common back surgery, but there are other common procedures your surgeon may recommend, including:
- Disk Replacement
- Interlaminar Implant
3. It’s Not Usually as Painful as You Think
The idea of spinal surgery is often much scarier than the actual procedure and the following spinal surgery recovery. While it’s true that you may be bed-ridden for some time, it’s abnormal to experience severe pain. You may experience mild-to-moderate pain for up to six weeks with more intense pain occurring within the first three days after surgery.
In preparation for spinal surgery, your doctor will also prescribe painkillers and/or anti-inflammatory medications to alleviate the pain. It’s important to be vigilant with your dosing, being careful to follow the doctor’s prescribed dosing schedule.
Although the pain associated with spinal surgery recovery is rarely as bad as patients’ assume, it’s still important to be realistic with your expectations. After a spinal fusion, it can take six to twelve months before your spine is completely healed. In the meantime, you will probably need to attend regular physical therapy sessions and follow-up visits.
If you’re getting a minimally invasive procedure such as a foraminotomy or diskectomy, you might be back on your feet within a few weeks if you receive proper postoperative care. Your doctor will help you with preparing for spinal surgery and understanding the recovery timeline. Each patient and procedure is unique, so consulting with a board-certified healthcare professional is a critical first step.
4. Most Patients Make a Full Recovery
By the end of their spinal surgery recovery, most patients can return to their lives feeling better than ever. Many can perform activities that used to be impossible before surgery. One of the biggest misconceptions associated with spinal surgery is that it’s going to reduce mobility and prevent activities such as sports. In most cases, that’s not true.
Approximately 80% of spinal fusions only involve one or two vertebral levels. If you fall into that group, you should have no problem performing recreational activities, including physically demanding sports. Of course, those results aren’t guaranteed, and how you recover plays a major role in the long-term results. If you take care of yourself and follow the surgeon’s spinal surgery recovery advice, the risk of lasting pain or damage is very low.
Another common misconception is that you’re going to have more surgeries in the future. Again, each patient is unique, but most can achieve ideal results with just one surgery. The major reason why people end up needing follow-up surgeries is that they rushed their recovery from surgery or re-injured themselves before their fusion and/or spine could fully heal.
5. There Are Risks (But They’re Uncommon)
Like any surgery, there’s always a minor risk of infection, bleeding, or adverse reactions to anesthesia and prescribed medications. Those risks can be significantly reduced by successfully preparing for spinal surgery ahead of time and recovering in a dedicated recovery center surrounded by qualified medical professionals.
Potential risks also depend on several factors, including your current health, the type of surgery, and your post-surgery recovery plan. Other potential risks include herniated disks, blood clots, heart attack, stroke, or nerve damage. Again, your spinal surgery recovery plays a major role in keeping those risks at bay.
Plan Your Stay at Pearl Recovery Retreat
It’s no secret that preparing for spinal surgery is difficult, but at Pearl Recovery, we’re here to lighten the load. Our recovery center provides all-inclusive access to high-end amenities — such as personalized IV therapy and restorative Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber treatments — and 24/7 compassionate nursing care. Our highly qualified staff will cater to your every need so you can focus on getting back on your feet as quickly as possible. Reserve your wellness suite today.