Things to Avoid After Spinal Fusion

Painful back problems of one kind or another are not uncommon. In cases where someone has a spinal deformity, spinal weakness or instability, spinal fusion surgery may be necessary. A vital part of the recovery process is education combined with post-operative care, as suggested by your doctor, as well as physical and occupational therapy.

Fairview Rehab and Nursing Home in Queens NY offers both inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation therapy and advice.

Let’s take a look at some of the do’s and don’ts after a person has had spinal fusion surgery. No two operations will be the same, so what follows should be viewed as general guidance only. It’s vital to talk to your doctor to alert him or her of any signs of infection or extreme pain.

Nurse providing post operative care to a patient sitting on a wheel chair to recover after spinal fusion

What Can You Not Do After Spinal Fusion?

The main thing you should not do after your back surgery is lift anything more than a few pounds. That includes lifting things above your head, as well as carrying shopping bags. Lifting puts a strain on the newly fused vertebrae and may lead to complications.

Bending down to pick something up is another thing to avoid. Bending likewise strains the fused vertebrae, though bending at the hips or knees is OK. A doctor may recommend that you use a reacher that allows you to pick up light things without bending.

Twisting or turning round suddenly, sport or driving should also be avoided after spinal fusion. However, this does not mean that you should spend all day on a couch.

On the contrary, some movement is vital for your recovery after spinal surgery. That’s where the physical therapist comes in. He or she will advise on the exercises and movements that can help your recovery.

Can you live a normal life?

Recovery times after a spinal fusion operation vary from 4-6 weeks in younger people to 4-6 months in older people. During this time your therapist will teach you what movements to avoid, and how to do things differently.

You can still enjoy life, but you need to be constantly mindful of the above movement restrictions. This means you must slow down and adjust your activities to your new circumstances. For example, you may need to think about footwear to avoid bending down to put on shoes and socks. Sturdy slip-on shoes may be the answer.

Extreme weakness after spinal fusion

This surgery uses different techniques to permanently connect two or more vertebrae in your spine and stop movement between them. Immediately after surgery you will feel very weak and may need help getting in and out of bed. Not being able to move freely inevitably leads to muscle atrophy. Guided physical therapy can go a long way to ensuring you keep your muscles in shape after spinal fusion surgery.

Contact us or walk in to find out more about our restorative therapies in Queens NY. We are here to answer any questions you may have. Feel free to call us today at  (718) 263-4600.

This article contains informational and educational materials and does not replace health or medical advice. For questions or concerns regarding your medical condition or health objectives, speak to a qualified physician or healthcare provider.