Recovering from Spine Surgery: How Long Does It Take?

Do you have nerve root compression causing extreme sciatica? If so, you may be a good candidate for lumbar disc microsurgery at St. Charles Spine Institute in Thousand Oaks, CA. Due to the minimally invasive technique we use to perform this procedure, the spine surgery recovery process is much easier than recovery from other spine procedures. Here’s what you need to know about the recovery process.

Recovering from traditional spine surgery usually takes at least six months to a year. However, here at Saint Charles Spine Institute, we practice the most modern and advanced surgical techniques of minimally invasive microsurgery on the spine. Our patients are typically up walking the same day. Many of our patients are able to return to work the following day. Those patients who have more physically strenuous jobs will need to stay off work longer.

What to Expect During the First Two Weeks

During the first 2 weeks after your spine surgery, you should bend at your knees and hips, but not bend at the waist. Heavy lifting is also restricted during this time. You may not pick up anything heavier than five pounds. In other words, you could pick up a half-gallon of milk.

It is also important that you avoid twisting your back. It is helpful to log roll in and out of bed. Note, you shouldn’t drive during the first week or two post-op if you are taking any pain medication or muscle relaxants.

Walking is important after surgery and you should try to go for a walk on level ground for approximately 15 to 20 minutes once or twice per day.

Keep the incision clean and dry. Most patients can shower after 48 hours but avoid getting water directly on the incision. We can usually arrange for a home health nurse to help you with dressing changes after surgery

What to Expect Between Two and Six Weeks

You should be able to return to a desk job fairly soon after surgery. When you can go back to work depends on how physically demanding your job is. Within two weeks you should be feeling well-rested enough to drive. However, if you are still taking opioids, you must not drive. Keep in mind, you should keep your trips less than 30 minutes.

You should take a short walk for a few minutes after every 45 minutes of sitting. This will help with the healing of your lower back.

What to Expect After Six Weeks

Most patients are able to do a light gym workout and return to most everyday activities after six weeks. Typically patients will start physical therapy formally or on their own. You should still avoid any strenuous activities until cleared by Dr. Spayde.

Contact us today at St. Charles Spine Institute in Thousand Oaks, CA to make an appointment and learn more.

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