Any type of spinal surgery is considered a major procedure, as the spine contains and protects the spinal cord – which is the baseline of all nerve function. The spine also helps us stand up, lift, bend, and perform other motions.
Regardless of the reason for your low back surgery, you will need to have physical therapy after your operation in order for your back and spine to recover properly. Let’s talk about why physical therapy is so important after spine surgery.
Reasons for Spine Surgery in the Lower Back
One of the most common reasons to have low back surgery is to treat sciatica. The pinching of the sciatic nerve causes pain to travel from the lower back and down the leg to the foot; it usually affects only one leg. The pain can be debilitating, making a person feel unable to find relief from the pain while sitting, standing, or even lying down.
Low back pain that requires surgery can also stem from a herniated disc injury or arthritis-based bone spurs. Surgical treatment may involve removing just the inflamed portion of a disc, implanting a prosthetic disc, or even spinal fusion to connect two adjacent vertebrae.
Physical Therapy After Back Surgery
Rehabilitation following back surgery involves specialized physical therapy. Facets of physical therapy for the spine include stretching, exercising, and moving your back properly – without twisting it the wrong way or placing too much pressure on it.
Your therapist will teach you a series of light exercises and stretches that you will be able to continue doing yourself, in the privacy and comfort of your own home. Before adding any type of exercise, consult with your therapist to make sure that the movements involved will not cause harm to your back.
Along the way, your physical therapist will provide reports of your progress to your surgeon. You will be able to stay in full contact with your therapist and your surgeon while you recover from back surgery.
Some Procedures Require a Longer Recovery Time
Your physical therapy will be based on the type of back surgery you had. If you had a discectomy or a laminectomy, the therapy will be different than if you had a spinal fusion. A fusion of two or more vertebrae in the lumbar region will require a longer rehabilitation period than would less-intensive types of low back surgery.
Physical therapy after undergoing a laminectomy or a discectomy will focus on regaining range of motion without pain, whereas therapy after a spinal fusion will be focused on occupational therapy and proper movements with fused vertebrae. The fusion actually occurs over time following back surgery, because the spine’s vertebrae are growing and fusing together over a period of several months. The result should be much less pain than before.
Back Therapy in Austin, TX
If you or someone close to you has recently undergone spine surgery or is considering back surgery, contact our team at Endeavor Physical Therapy & Wellness today.
Call us at (512) 284-7192 or request an appointment online, and trust our physical therapists in the Round Rock and Austin areas to help you fully recover from low back surgery – so you can get your life back again!