How Can Physical Therapy Help After Back Surgery?
As part of the recovery process, your neurosurgeon may recommend rehabilitation and physical therapy after your spinal surgery. Physical therapy after back surgery is used to help you regain your strength, treat your pain, limit the risks of injuring your back again and reduce the chance of developing internal scar tissue. During your rehabilitation, you will do exercises that will help improve alignment, provide balance and speed up your recovery.
Getting Your Pain Under Control
Before you can regain your strength after back surgery, you first must get your pain under control. During your physical therapy sessions, the therapist will typically apply ice to your back, which will give you topical relief and allow you to stretch without discomfort. Your therapist will then teach you a variety of movements to help stretch your back and provide relief for your pain. In many situations, electrical devices are used during your therapy to help control pain. Your therapist will also provide you with information and suggestions about the best sleeping position to use while you are healing.
Benefits of Physical Therapy
Physical therapy is extremely beneficial for ensuring a quick recovery and helping you get back to your normal routines. Following back surgery, physical therapy can help you avoid fatigue and prevent any additional injuries. Physical therapy is designed to help you learn the proper exercise techniques to prevent weakness in your back, which can lead to fatigue. The particular type and duration of your physical therapy will depend on you, the kind of back surgery you had and your neurosurgeon's recommendations. In most situations, physical therapy begins slowly and will progress over several months. Some of the benefits of physical therapy following back surgery may include:
- Regaining endurance and muscle strength
- Reducing postoperative pain and discomfort
- Increasing mobility and flexibility
- Improving stamina
- Reducing the risk of internal scar tissue formation
A training program will be developed depending on your individual needs for rebuilding the muscles in your back. Your doctor will design an exercise program around the scope of your surgery, any mobility issues you are facing and your physical abilities. For example, your physical therapy exercises may be focused on the small muscles around the vertebrae, the incision area, or other muscles that are weak from your surgery.
The exercise plan developed by your physical therapist and your neurosurgeon will help strengthen your spine; improve your coordination, general health and fitness; and address any other underlying problems you may have, such as bad posture. Talk with your doctor about your options regarding physical therapy and whether it's right for you.