Spine Surgery Do’s and Don’ts

man getting a back and spine exam

Undergoing back surgery is no walk in the park, and you want to find relief as quickly as possible. The best thing you can do is take steps to ensure you have a safe recovery. Let us provide guidelines and advice about some spine surgery do’s and don’ts.

A General Timeline for Spine Surgery Recovery

How much time each patient needs to recover depends on the type of surgery you have done.

If Dr. Jason Tinley performs a spinal fusion, expect to be off from work for 4 to 6 weeks if you are young and healthy. However, it may be up to 6 months if you are older or have a more strenuous job.

With other surgeries it could be up to one year before you are back to full activities.

What to Do After Spine Surgery

Get Enough Rest Especially at First

Rest helps your body heal. Follow your doctor’s recommendations about activities to do and those to avoid in the beginning.

Keep a Close Eye on Signs of Infection

Carefully watch your incision site for any signs of infection like discoloration. Swelling and pain are normal after a surgery. If you notice redness which is spreading, if you have pain at the site, if you run a high fever, or there is a discharge (pus) from the site, contact DFW Center for Spinal Disorders. In addition, if the area is warm to the touch and you have shortness of breath, there may be a developing infection.

Physical Therapy Is Crucial

Follow the recommendations from your surgeon about doing the proper exercises to regain your muscle strength and mobility.

Light exercise will increase circulation and help speed up recovery. Walking and stretching are excellent choices.

But….Be Careful

There are also a few Don’ts after spine surgery.

  • Only use the amount of medication that helps ease any pain. It is easy to become addicted if you develop a tolerance.
  • Although you need rest after spine surgery, don’t be a couch potato. This will only delay recovery and add more pain. Combine rest with exercise so you can develop the muscles around your spine and take extra stress off your spine.
  • Don’t go without medication if you are suffering with pain. Talk to Dr. Tinley about options. Ice can help ease pain, and heat can support other muscles and joints in your body. The best plan is to taper off your meds as you heal, but don’t go without if you are in pain.
  • Don’t smoke or drink alcohol in excess.
  • Avoid bending, lifting and twisting until you are mobile and walking easily.

Contact DFW Center for Spinal Disorders at (817) 916-4685 if you have questions or concerns after spine surgery, or if you want to discuss surgery options at our spine clinic in Fort Worth, TX.