You had spinal surgery two days ago – perhaps it was for a simple but persistent pinched nerve, or maybe it was a treatment for a spinal cord injury. Yesterday was your first post-operative day. You were groggy and uncomfortable, but you sensed already that something inside has been fixed, that you’re not under the same internal stress as you were before you were admitted for surgery some 48 hours ago. Possibly you spent the first night in the Intensive Care Unit, or ICU, as planned before surgery, in order to be ready for any post operative complications your spine surgeon was concerned about, due to the particulars of your spinal problem or health history. But now you’re in a regular hospital room. You had your first visit with your physical therapist yesterday and likely you got out of bed and were able to walk to a chair across the room and sit on it.
Today, on your second post-surgery day, your physical therapist will gently encourage you to do more. In fact, every day the goal of recovery is to do a little more than you did the day before. You probably have some incision related pain, and arm or leg pain may be felt periodically. That’s because the nerves have been irritated by the condition addressed by your back surgery – in fact, they can be further irritated by the surgery itself. This is a sign that the healing is progressing as anticipated. You are on the path to recovery!
If you had a non-fusion surgical procedure, such as is often performed today to treat conditions including spinal stenosis, or nerve compression problems that cause sciatica, or pinched nerves, your recovery will be much more rapid than if you underwent traditional lumbar fusion surgery to correct the problem. That’s why it’s important to review all your surgical options, and work with a back surgeon who is familiar and experienced with the latest advanced surgical procedures, so you can be sure you have access to the widest range of treatment options. For example, if you need spinal decompression surgery, now you can select the TOPS™ (Total Posterior Solution) System to stabilize the spine instead of spinal fusion back surgery, as has been the procedure commonly used after surgical decompression of the spine. The TOPS System provides better clinical outcomes than spinal fusion therapy, and preserves the natural, independent motion of the individual vertebrae, unlike fusion surgery.
Back surgery can provide tremendous relief for back problems when conservative treatment options fail. But it’s important for patients to be familiar with all their treatment options! That will help ensure your Post Op Day 2 – and all that follow – go a well as possible!