Recovery from lumbar discectomy surgery

recovery after microdiscectomy surgery

The lumbar discectomy surgery – to ease sciatica, or pain along the sciatic nerve, caused by a disc herniation– has actually considerably improved in recent times (e.g. a much shorter recovery duration, less pain, and greater success rates). While various spinal column specialists will recommend rather different methods to postoperative care after this type of back surgery, there are a number of general elements of postoperative recovery that can be anticipated.

Mobilization and Exercise after a Discectomy Surgery

The conventional technique to recovery after a discectomy back surgery has actually been to limit flexing, lifting, or twisting for 6 weeks to avoid a recurrent lumbar disc herniation. Regrettably, since the disc covering has a bad blood supply, healing of the hole where the inner core of the disc extruded may take three to four months to scar over. Therefore, limiting a patient’s activity for six weeks after discectomy back surgery will not necessarily prevent a recurrence.

This reasoning has recently been validated with numerous clinical research studies. In a recently released study in the Spine Journal, it was discovered that even if patients were sent back to work within a number of weeks, they had no greater percentage of a persistent lumbar disc herniation.

Earlier mobilization after discectomy back surgery may actually help patients recover sooner because patients with significant pain frequently have actually limited their motion, and an early exercise program for appropriate stretching, enhancing and conditioning may assist work out the secondary soft tissue component of their pain in the back and/or leg pain.

Pain Management After discectomy Surgery

Immediate post-operative pain can be handled with a mix of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and a moderate pain pill (e.g. Darvocet, Vicodin). The narcotic pain medications (Vicodin) are addicting and should just be utilized for a brief period of time (less than two weeks).

As the discomfort from back surgery subsides (typically about 1 to 2 weeks) the patient can move towards substituting Tylenol for the narcotic pain medications.

Ice therapy used to the back can be particularly beneficial to reduce pain in the very first 48 hours after back surgery. A plastic bag fulled of ice or an office ice bag should be applied every 1 to 2 hours for around 20 minutes. One should beware not to straight use the ice to the skin to avoid an ice burn.

After the first 48 hours, ice and cold packs can be utilized after activity to decrease any activity-related discomfort.

Stretching Exercise after discectomy Surgery

Considering that any surgical site will recover with scar tissue, some specialists feel that to decrease scarring of the nerve root, gentle stretching exercises should be carried out in the early postoperative period.

The stretching exercises must be done about 5 to 6 times a day for 6 to 12 weeks, since this is the time duration in which the scarring occurs.

The safest method to stretch is to rest and maximally flex the hips and gradually extend the knee. This maneuver will likewise extend the hamstring muscles, which is essential for recovery after a discectomy back surgery.

It is usually suggested to do the extending exercises often and gently. Stretching too hard might lead to pain, and one need to just take the stretch to the point of pain, and not beyond, to prevent irritating the nerve.

If a patient feels excessive pain after surgery to do any extending exercises, it would be wise to wait till he or she is more comfortable.

Recovery time after microdiscectomy surgery

The recovery time after discectomy surgery differs from 1 to 4 weeks depending on the underlying illness dealt with and your general health. You may feel pain at the site of the laceration. The initial pain might not be totally relieved instantly after surgery. Objective to keep a positive mindset and vigilantly perform your physical treatment exercises if prescribed.

Back Strengthening Exercises After discectomy Surgery

After the soft tissue has actually recovered (usually 2 to 3 weeks after surgery), it is very important to start back strengthening exercises.

There are a variety of possible exercises to attain the desired results, and it is important to select exercises that are safe and well tolerated by the patient so that they will be done on a regular basis.

recovering from discectomy surgery

About 15 minutes of proper extending and enhancing exercises per day is a good idea for the first one to three months.

Four point stabilization exercises are typically advised. The patient kneels on the ground and raises one arm and extends the opposite leg behind him/her. This workout helps to enhance the huge back muscles (erector spinae) and also assists educate the back muscles to keep the back in a steady comfy position.

Return to Exercise After Discectomy Surgery

Early mobilization and exercise may assist patients heal earlier, as the pre-operative pain has actually typically caused patients to restrict their movement, and limited movement is a typical reason for pain. In addition to an early exercise program of stretching, strengthening, and conditioning, return to typical day-to-day activity may also help enhance the secondary soft tissue component of the pain after discectomy back surgery.

Walking workout after discectomy spine surgery is very gentle on the back, and a postoperative strolling program with a goal of strolling about 3 miles a day is advisable. Usually, patients will be encouraged to start strolling a brief range and slowly work up to a range of a few miles, and to let pain be their guide. Applying ice and/or taking an NSAID (e.g. ibuprofen) after strolling will assist alleviate discomfort and the pain sometimes related to a boost in activity after back surgery.

Return to work after discectomy back surgery is based both on how quickly the patient feels much better and on what type of work the patient does. Numerous cosmetic surgeons do not limit post-operative activity however advise patients to return to all their typical activities in a progressive fashion and let pain be their guide.

For those discectomy back surgery patients who have employee’s compensation insurance and need specific standards prior to returning to work, spine cosmetic surgeons will typically let them return to modified duty 7 to 10 days after a discectomy and to full duty after 2 to 3 weeks, depending on their required duties.

Numerous Patients Feel Better with Exercise

Once again, lots of spinal column specialists feel that early return to regular activity is safe and does not result in an enhanced likelihood of a reoccurring disc herniation in the early postoperative period. Many patients in fact feel much better quicker if they return to their regular level of functioning as quickly as possible after discectomy back surgery.


Updated: August 12, 2016 — 2:43 am

The Author

Reyus Mammadli

Healthy lifestyle advisor. Bachelor Degree of Medical Equipment and Electronics.

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