If you’ve been suffering with chronic back pain, you may be hoping that spinal surgery will provide relief.
What many people fail to realise however, is that spinal surgery alone is only half of the equation. It can be devastating to undergo a major operation, only to find the pain is still there months or even years afterward.
This is why it is important to seek the support of a physiotherapist throughout your recovery, so you can work towards a pain-free future.
How to Get the Best Results from Spinal Surgery
The human body is incredibly complex, and no one body part operates in isolation – and this is particularly true of the spine. There are many factors which affect it, including weight, posture, biomechanics, and muscle control.
So while spinal surgery can help with some back problems, there are still other factors in play.
Additionally, when your body is injured – including after surgery – it compensates, trying to rest the affected part. After spinal surgery, the body will put extra load on other areas of the spine without you even being aware. The end result? Potential further pain.
For these reasons, relying on spinal surgery alone – without the support of a physiotherapist during the recovery period – can even lead to a 5% increase in disability!
A study on post-surgery by the Journal of Back and Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation also found that both post-surgery disability AND leg pain is reduced by a massive 55% when your rehabilitation program includes active care and spinal manipulation.
Types of Spine Surgery
There are four main types of spinal surgery, with most involving decompression – removing the structure (bone, joint or cartilage) compressing the nerves and causing pain. These include:
- Foraminotomy – During surgery, the foraminal canals are widened to allow the nerve roots to move down unimpeded.
- Disectomy – If you have a herniated, bulging, extruding or fragmented spinal disc, the problem area is removed.
- Laminectomy – This is the most common of the decompression surgeries, involving the removal of the piece of bone which is trapping the nerves.
Laminectomies are often performed in conjunction with another type of surgery, called spinal fusion.
- Spinal Fusion – Rather than removing bone or tissue, spinal fusion joins two vertebrae together. The theory is that if two unstable structures are causing soreness and suffering, restricting their movement in this way will ease the discomfort.
What Does a Spinal Consultant Do?
If you are worried that you will be in too much pain after your operation, to embark on a rehabilitation program with a physiotherapist – there is no need to be. In fact, our spinal consultants Leo and Justin can help keep you more comfortable with post-operative pain management.
Once your pain levels are under control, they can also:
Focus on Your Muscles and Movement – Guide you with a personal treatment program to build your muscle strength and help you regain movement more safely. You don’t want to undo all the good work by overdoing it!
Address the Underlying Causes – As mentioned earlier, factors like weight, posture, and biomechanics may be contributing to your back issues – all things your physiotherapist can help with.
Answer your Questions – With a wealth of experience in this area, our Spinal Consultants are happy to answer your questions throughout your recovery.
In order to get the best results, you can expect to work with your physiotherapist on your rehabilitation for at least 6 to 10 weeks.
At Brisbane Spine Centre, we take a holistic approach to your body and wellbeing. If you are about to undergo surgery for back pain, contact us about post-op treatment, to get the best from your recovery.