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How Long will it be?

dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,846
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:42 AM in Recovering from Surgery
I think this may be one of the most often questions that we get here.
Each situation is different, so that there are only mild attempts in documenting them.

Some questions:

1 - How long before I star to feel better?
2 - When can I return to work?
3 - When can I start Physical Therapy
4 - What are things I should be doing
5 - What are things I should NOT be doing
Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com


  • j.howiejj.howie Brentwood, Ca., USAPosts: 1,730
    Like the stars, no two situations are the same. There are just too many variables to make a comparison.
    good luck, Jim
    Click my name to see my Medical history
    You get what you get, not what you deserve......I stole that from Susan (rip)
    Today is yours to embrace........ for tomorrow, who knows what might be starring you in the face!
  • My therapist told me that positive thinking plays a crucial role in recovery to a degree. It can't undo something like permanent nerve damage for example, but it has helped me to keep things in perspective and keep living life as best as I can.

    How soon you will you recover from spinal surgery? It depends on the person and the severity of their problems. I think a person with an active lifestyle has a good chance in recovering sooner in my opinion. How soon to go back to work? This scenario is for office work.. When you feel ready to and your doctor says it's okay and that you can handle it. Your pain has to be manageable and decreasing gradually. Expect for it to increase towards the end of the day since you've been at work and driving home.

    If you have a job that requires manual labor, heaving lifting,etc then it may take a longer time to go back and you'll have some restrictions set by your doctor. It also depends on what type of spinal surgery you had. If it was a fusion I can't see anyone going back to a job like construction for ex. for 6-12 months or even longer. Your doctor might tell you it's time to find another profession.

    Therapy- that depends on the type of surgery and if you are doing well with no complications.You can start as soon as you are cleared to drive, 2-3 weeks later or some doctors won't let you do it while you're on pain medication like Norco or Percocets for instance. If you had a fusion, it might take a bit longer. I started therapy at 3 months but in my case I was still in a lot of pain. At therapy, if an exercise hurts you stop IMMEDIATELY and tell the therapist. They should NOT push you or cause further pain. No pain, no gain doesn't apply here but do expect to be sore afterwards. Anytime the pain escalates and does not respond to your medication, you should contact your surgeon immediately.

    DO's and Don'ts- You should WALK, WALK, and Walk when you are able to post surgically. This is very important. Keep all your doctor's appts and follow ALL medical advice. Take your meds on time and as prescribed by your doctor. You should have someone around to help you with cooking, cleaning, and running errands. Do call your surgeon if you have any fever, pain unresponsive to meds, bladder and/or bowel incontinence, or any new symptoms or concerns.

    Do not bend, lift, or twist post surgically until you are cleared by your doctor. Don't drive long distances. Don't go walking too far by yourself to avoid getting stranded because you can't make it back. Do not miss doctor's appts. Avoid stairs if you can- I learn this the hard way. This is all I can think of for now but I know there are plenty more don'ts.

    Another advice I have for those recovering from back surgery is that you'll have days when the pain flares up, and this is very common. Think of it like a storm- it soon will pass and the sun will come out again the next day. You can ride it out. Take your meds, use a heating pad and alternate with an ice pack, and try to relax and distract yourself with music, watching a movie, meditating, etc. Whatever you do, just don't give up.
  • most of us are not prepared for such a recovery from hell-o
    a shame too
    so let me add another question "why did dr say it'd be only a few weeks to recovery"
    I like your last paragraph meydey - very well put
  • Yeah, I don't know why they say that unless they mean 26-52 weeks ;) That would be more realistic to me.
  • Dont know "why" either.
    They simply say "a positive attitude is important"! So we think "this shouldn't be too bad, I have a positive attitude"
    Then after a year of 7-10+ pain goes by you learn that recovery is up to 2 YEARS, IN GENERAL! Gee thanks, if I'd just known that up front, it would've saved lots of time & money from trying to find an "answer" as to when to expect it to ease up. Instead, stressed & freaked out the past 360 days! And prob no doubt why we arent healed yet - all the stress from thinking somethings wrong -
    Why do they withhold the truth? It would not have changed our mind if we'd known the truth, as we were going through with the surgery regardless.
    What about the "OATH" they have taken to be true to the patient???!!!
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