What is the Recovery Time for Lower Back Surgery?

back surgery new york

Did you know that 8 in 10 people will experience back pain in their lives?  Most of us have experienced it, but in some cases, back pain may require surgery due to underlying causes.  Surgery is usually only recommended after all other treatment options (physical therapy, pain medications, spinal injections) have been exhausted.

If you require back surgery in New York, you may be wondering what it entails and what the recovery is like.

Here are some helpful things to know about lower-back surgery!

Why Might I Need Back Surgery?

Though most people experience back pain, surgery is usually only needed in more severe cases that have underlying causes. Sometimes, pain is not even a factor. These are some common reasons for doctors to recommend lower back surgery in New York:

  • Spinal infection
  • Tumor removal
  • Broken/ dislocated backbone
  • Herniated/ dislocated/ ruptured disks
  • Spinal bone spurs
  • Limited use/ numbness/ weakness in legs, arms, or hands
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Scoliosis
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Severe spinal injuries that may cause any of the above conditions

Different conditions require different surgeries. For back surgery in New York, these are some common lower back surgeries:

  • Spinal laminectomy/spinal decompression.  This procedure is often used to combat the pain or weakness that results from spinal stenosis.  The goal of this procedure is to help open up the spinal column to relieve pressure on nerves.
  • Discectomy. This is a procedure to remove herniated disks. 
  • Artificial disk replacement. This procedure is usually used for those with severe disk displacements.  The disk is removed and replaced by a synthetic disk that helps restore normal movement between the vertebrae.
  • Posterior lumbar fusion. This procedure joins two or more of the bones in the lower back into one solid bone.  This will relieve the pain that arises from movement of the affected bones in the back.  This procedure includes the insertion of a bone graft along the vertebrae. 

These are common procedures, but they are not the only surgical procedures that may be performed on your lower back.  If you are seeking back surgery in New York, visit our website to find out which other procedures we offer.

Recovery

Recovering properly from back surgery is crucial for you to be able to return to everyday life and movement.

The time period of recovery and rehabilitation from back surgery depends on your overall health and the procedure that you had done.  Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and following doctors’ advice can help to ensure healthy back recovery.

Generally, patients are fully recovered from back surgeries in about 6 months.  Recovery from back surgery in New York usually entails the following:

  • Hospital stay: after surgery, you will be monitored by nurses and will most likely have an IV and a drainage tube in your back.  Most patients will remain in the hospital for 1-3 days
  • Physical therapy: Usually within 24 hours of surgery, your doctors will have you perform range-of-motion exercises and have you walking with a walker.  The sooner and more often that you walk, the better. Once you leave the hospital, you will likely have to visit a physical therapist 1-2 times a week for up to six months.
  • Home recovery: Your doctor will advise you on the proper sitting and sleeping positions that will help heal your back.  You will also have to take proper care of your wound to prevent infection. Stitches or staples will usually be removed by your doctor within 10-14 days of your surgery.
  • Normal life:  It will take time to be able to return to everyday activities and movements that aren’t harmful to your back.  You may be able to drive around 3 weeks after surgery, but to return to work and fully recover can take 2-3 months.

Most patients will follow up with their doctor around 4-6 weeks after surgery and then periodically for up to two years.  Again, the recovery period depends upon which procedure you have undergone. Your doctor will go over this in detail with you prior to the surgery.

Where Can I Get Back Surgery?

New York Orthopaedic Spinal Associates is a team of professional doctors who have been treating spinal conditions for over 16 years.  Our team is equipped to treat you every step of the way for your back surgery. Visit our site to read about the various procedures and treatments that we offer.  Please call for more information or make an appointment on our website!

To schedule a consultation or for more information on our services