Lumbar spinal fusion surgery recovery can take months. After three months, exercise becomes part of recovery. You will begin to make progress in daily activities. Many patients will also be in physical therapy.
Do not perform vigorous exercise just yet. Following the surgery, you will have weakened muscles. It is common to experience stiffness and reduced range of motion after surgery. The right exercises will help with this.
Exercise Helps Fusions to Heal
Some people think that exercise can damage your spinal fusion healing. However, that is not the case. In fact, exercise helps promote fusion healing. When the fusion is progressing as expected, it gets stronger. After 3 months, exercise increases the strength, but it should be gradual. Avoid excessive bending, lifting, and twisting.
Controlled, progressive exercise programs are most beneficial. Ideally, these are started between 6 weeks and 3 months post spinal fusion surgery. Physical therapists may help in the beginning. But, eventually, patients will begin a self-directed long-term program. Specialized physical therapy can be used later. This occurs with a return to work where physical labor is involved.
Return to Active Lifestyle
Regular activity resumes once x-rays confirm complete fusion. By now, bending, lifting, and twisting actions are OK. This can occur anywhere between 6 and 12 months after surgery. You need to follow your doctor’s advice on this.
Although you are returning to regular activity, care is still essential. You should maintain the good habits formed during recovery, such as:
- Exercises that stretch and strengthen the back daily.
- Perform aerobic exercise regularly.
- Quit smoking.
- Be sure to bend the knees when lifting.
Complete Spinal Fusion Surgery Recovery
Complete recovery is typically between 1 and 2 years for spinal fusion surgery. The fusion will be stable after 8 months. But, it takes about 12 to 18 months for the bones to evolve. However, if you have any prior nerve damage, it may take longer to heal. Depending on the damage, this can take 1 to 2 years.
If you are considering spinal fusion and would like to speak to a board-certified spine specialist, call us at 888-409-8006. We have offices located in Boca Raton, Deerfield Beach, Coral Springs, and Plantation.