As we’ve discussed previously on this site, physical therapy can be an incredibly effective treatment tool after a surgical procedure. In this article, we are going to explain some of the physical therapy post-op protocols after a spinal fusion surgical procedure.
Recovering from Spinal Fusion Surgery
Spine fusion surgery is a widely used minimally invasive technique that can help treat a variety of spinal conditions and injuries. Even though these procedures are minimally invasive (meaning they offer smaller incisions, and less pain than traditional open surgeries), spine fusion procedures still require some physical rehabilitation during recovery. The body needs time and help to adjust to the new changes brought on by surgery, and physical therapy can help.
A fusion procedure involves fusing two or more spinal vertebrae together to provide more stability in the area. While stability is often achieved, fusions can also decrease a patient’s range-of-motion, making it difficult to bend and twist.
Post-Op Physical Therapy Protocol
If you really want to be prepared for your surgical procedure, meet with a physical therapist before your surgery. This can help you prepare with a few exercises and plot a course for after the procedure. Spine fusion surgery can be done in the neck, mid back, and low back regions of the spine, and your physical therapy schedule will vary based on this and other factors, so it’s good to involve your PT early.
Here is a general guide for physical therapy after spine fusion surgery:
- First week after surgery. In the first day after your surgery, limit yourself to short walks. You don’t want to overdo it too quickly. As the days progress, you can begin with some minor stretches.
- Weeks 2-5 after surgery. Increase your walking schedule, and start including static stabilization exercises into your routine.
- Weeks 6-9 after surgery. Start introducing dynamic exercises as prescribed by your physical therapist.
MN Physical Therapists
The Minnesota physical therapists at OrthoRehab Specialists have almost three decades of experience treating patients who are recovering from surgery. Physical therapy is a common course of treatment after most surgical procedures, and can help improve your pain and range-of-motion during the recovery process. Our physical therapists have lasting relationships with over 600 local surgeons and providers who refer their patients to us for post-op care on a regular basis. If you are recovering from a surgical procedure, contact our Twin Cities physical therapists today to set up an appointment at our Edina or Minneapolis clinic locations. We offer direct access to physical therapy in the state of Minnesota so you don’t even need a prescription or referral to make your appointment with us.
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