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Spine Surgery Recovery: Do You Need Physical Therapy?

If you are one of the many people who will undergo spine surgery this year, you may be wondering if you need physical therapy after your surgery. Many people think they can go home and rest after surgery, but this may delay their recovery. Physical therapy may help expedite healing and get you back to everyday activities sooner.

What is Physical Therapy?

Physical therapy is a type of rehabilitation that uses exercises, stretches, and other techniques to improve movement and function.

Moreover, a physical therapist may also offer guidance on preventing further injury and maintaining your health after surgery. The main goal of physical therapy is to help you relieve pain and regain strength and mobility.

What to Expect During Physical Therapy After Spine Surgery

After your spine surgery, you will likely experience some pain and discomfort. Your physical therapist will work with you to help ease your pain and improve your mobility. They will also teach you exercises that may strengthen the muscles around your spine and improve your range of motion. It is important to listen to your body and only do what you are comfortable with. You should not push yourself too hard, as this could delay your recovery.

Furthermore, physical therapy before surgery will act as a baseline for your progress post-surgery. This will give you and your doctor a better idea of what to expect during your recovery and help create a more customized treatment plan. The number of sessions you will need largely depends on the severity of your condition and how well you respond to treatment. Keeping up with physical therapy appointments and continuing to do your exercises at home may ensure a successful surgery and speedy recovery.

How to Determine if You Need Physical Therapy After Spine Surgery

Not everyone will necessarily need to visit a physical therapist after spine surgery, but it may certainly help your recovery. After your spine surgery is complete, your surgeon will give you specific instructions on what to do during your recovery. These instructions may or may not include physical therapy.

If you find yourself struggling with pain or mobility after your surgery, it may be beneficial to give physical therapy a try. If you are unsure whether physical therapy is right for you, consult with your surgeon or primary care physician. Common indicators that you may need physical therapy include:

  • Limited range of motion
  • Difficulty bearing weight
  • Persistent pain
  • Muscle weakness
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Difficulty with activities of daily living

Home remedies such as icing and heat may help with pain management, but they will not provide the same level of care as a professional physical therapist. If you have tried at-home treatments with little to no success, it may be time to seek professional help from a physical therapist.

Benefits of Physical Therapy After Spine Surgery

When recovering from spine surgery, staying stagnant is often the worst thing you can do. On the other hand, jumping into things too quickly may also be detrimental to your recovery. Physical therapy provides a happy medium by gradually helping you regain strength and mobility without overdoing it. By having a physical therapist guide your recovery, you can be sure you are doing the right exercises at the right time.

There are many benefits to physical therapy, especially after spine surgery. Some of the most common benefits include:

  • Reduced pain
  • Increased mobility
  • Improved strength
  • Improved balance and coordination
  • Greater independence

In some instances, physical therapy may help patients avoid surgery altogether. Conditions such as spinal stenosis and degenerative disc disease may respond well to conservative treatment methods such as occupational and physical therapy. Before opting for surgery, be sure to discuss all of your treatment options with your surgeon.

Receive World Class Care at The Spine Pro

The Spine Pro offers minimally invasive treatment options designed around your unique needs. 

Dr. Hooman Melamed of The Spine Pro is an award-winning orthopedic spine surgeon who has helped countless patients find relief from back and neck pain. His experience and expertise make him one of the best in his field. If you are considering spine surgery or looking for a second opinion, contact us today to book an appointment.