When fully recovered, most patients can expect to return to work — unless your type of work is not advisable for people with spinal injury. Anyway, you should discuss your situation with your doctor. In most cases physical activity is vital for better and faster recovery. But you should avoid any intensive activities, and pay attention to your feelings, especially pain.
- During first few weeks after operation you may need help with daily activities (e.g., dressing, bathing). Fatigue is common.
- Gradually return to your normal activities. Walking is encouraged; start with a short distance and gradually increase to 1 to 2 miles daily. A physical therapy program may be recommended.
- If applicable, know how to wear the brace before you leave the hospital. Wear for daily activities (excluding sleep) unless instructed otherwise.
After most Surgical manipulation on Spine, a Good Rule of Thumb is that Acceptable Physical Activities Should:
- Not cause pain, including pain felt later
- Not jar the spine
- Not place the joint in the extremes of its range of motion
- Be pleasurable
The success of your treatment will strongly depend on how well you follow your orthopaedic surgeon’s instructions. As time passes, you will potentially experience a dramatic reduction in pain symptoms and a significant improvement in your ability to participate in daily activities.
It’s important to have realistic expectations. For example, there are some limitations:
- If you have had a fusion, do not use non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) (e.g., aspirin; ibuprofen, Advil, Motrin, Nuprin; naproxen sodium, Aleve) for six months after surgery. NSAIDs may cause bleeding and interfere with bone healing.
- Do not drive for 2 to 4 weeks after surgery or until discussed with your surgeon.
- Avoid sitting for long periods of time.
- Do not lift anything heavier than 10 pounds (e.g., gallon of juice). Do not bend or twist at
- the waist.
- Housework and yard-work are not permitted until the first follow-up office visit. This includes gardening, mowing, vacuuming, ironing, and loading/unloading the dishwasher, washer, or dryer.
- Postpone sexual activity until your follow-up appointment unless your surgeon specifies otherwise.
- Do not smoke. Smoking delays healing by increasing the risk of complications (e.g., infection) and inhibits the bones’ ability to fuse.