The patients that visit our practice after herniated disk surgery in the back or neck have a basic question… “What am I allowed to do from now on?”
Questions like “when can I drive?”, “am I allowed to walk?”, “how much weight can I lift?”, “when will I return to my job?” are usually answered by the surgeon.
However, the postoperative period is a stressful period of recovery and often needs close monitoring and care. Each pain raises concerns and any new activity is done with great caution. It is natural to want to return to your daily habits, but without risking the benefits of surgery you just had. The balance between these opposing forces is the key. The two extremes, i.e. “advancing too quickly” and the “excessive fear” are obstacles in your normal recovery.
Our job is to work closely with you and your surgeon and guide you to the desired level of activity, “gradually and safely”. The physiotherapy program usually begins at the fourth week after surgery, approximately the 22nd postoperative day. On the first visit, we will evaluate the mobility of your joints, your muscle strength and endurance and will begin a paced program of activation of all the muscles that stabilize your spine.
You should be aware that it is normal to have some remaining symptoms after surgery. Take into account that all the pains you have undergone prior to the operation caused protective muscle contractions and other compensations in the joints and soft tissues, and require a reasonable amount of time to restore. Relieving you from these painful symptoms is one of our goals.
CONCLUSION: The successful surgical outcome is completed when you regain confidence in your body and its capabilities. Postoperative physiotherapy can be a creative process where you learn the proper functioning of your body and how to gradually increase its potential through exercise.