Car accidents can be a common cause of severe spinal injuries that result in surgery. The U.S. National Library of Medicine notes spinal fusions, foraminotomies, laminectomies and diskectomies as common spinal surgeries.
After you return home from spinal surgery, what happens next?
A diskectomy or foraminotomy have short recovery times. You may experience numbness, weakness or pain along the path of the nerve, but you should feel alleviation from those symptoms within a few weeks. A spinal fusion, on the other hand, usually requires you to take four to six weeks off work.
However, if you are older or if the surgery is extensive, it can take you four to six months to return to work. Your recovery time depends on your age, health and extent of the damage. If you had a laminectomy, you cannot return to your activities right away. It may take you three to four months for your bones to heal. Sometimes, it can take up to a year.
After surgery, make changes to your routine. Some activity tips include:
- Do not sit for any longer than 30 minutes at a time
- Sleep in a position that does not hurt your back
- Take only short walks for the first couple of weeks
- Use the stairs only once a day for the first week or two
- Do not partake in strenuous activity until your doctor clears you
Your surgeon may require you to attend physical therapy. At physical therapy, you may learn how to do activities in a manner that will prevent pain and protect your spine.