Vertebral Surgery

How To Recover From Vertebral Surgery

Recovering from vertebral surgery takes a significant amount of time.  Your body needs to work to restore tissues that have been damaged so that you can return back to normal.  Be prepared, because recovery is a process that begins in the hospital and continues on for several months, but if you go into it with realistic goals and positive attitude, you will find the experience quite a bit more tolerable.

Don't Rush

Your surgeon will provide you with information on what you can expect during vertebral surgery recovery.  Be sure to read it thoroughly and follow directions precisely.  If you push yourself too quickly you could cause setbacks to occur.  You will need to spend a substantial amount of time resting but everyday the discomfort level should decrease a little bit more and increased energy will lead to more activity which means that you are healing.

Keep in mind that vertebral surgery recovery time will vary from patient to patient so don't compare yourself to someone else who has had a similar procedure.  If you are in good physical shape and young, recovery is typically faster.  Maintaining a healthy diet and refraining from smoking can speed up the process as well.

It is not uncommon to experience temporary episodes of moodiness.  These emotional changes are normal because your body is working overtime to heal itself.  Having unrealistic expectations will only add to these episodes so concentrate on taking the recovery process one day at a time.


You should expect some level of pain during your vertebral surgery recovery time.  Most patients experience muscle spasms down the legs or across the back as well as aching from the inflammation.  You may find that you also have pain either in your hip if you had a bone graft done or in your back where the incision was made.  These are all common feelings of discomfort but they will decrease everyday as your body heals.

Typically, your doctor will prescribe you medication to reduce swelling and relieve muscle spasms and when you feel as though you are ready, you will very slowly decrease the amount of medication that you take by increasing the time space between doses.  Moist heat, massage, gentle exercise, frequent repositioning and short rest periods are all very helpful as well.

Physical Therapy

A physical therapist is usually needed for your vertebral surgery recovery process.  They will create a training program that is tailored just for you by considering your tissue condition, body type and specific surgery that you had.  They concentrate on muscle facilitation in the areas where your muscles might require retraining to provide stability and gain strength.  The exercise therapy that they develop for you will typically focus on:

A physical therapy program that is designed for you may help with flexibility and mobility that has been limited because of the surgery.  A lot of spine patients end up with restrictions in their shoulders or hips that a therapist can help with.  They assist you with exercises that help with muscles and joints to regain any lost movement.  Physical therapists are thoroughly trained to select exercises that can be done safely during vertebral surgery recovery.

There are quite a few exercises that are available to choose from so if you work with your physical therapist and trust their judgment, they can get you up and moving and back to your daily activity in no time at all.