Back Surgery Recovery in Workers’ Comp
Following up on our previous post regarding back surgeries, let’s discuss back surgery recovery. Specifically, many people contact us wondering what the process is if they chose to undergo a spinal fusion. As we have said before, your post-operative care can determine whether you have a good outcome following surgery or a bad outcome. One thing that can seriously complicate your results after surgery is smoking. Smoking will cause the bone to have difficulty fusing or healing.
One study showed that smokers have a 26% non-union (or failure to fuse) rate while non-smokers had a non-union rate of 14%. The best thing you can do is not smoke. If you do, quit before your surgery and don’t start again or you are risking a bad surgical outcome.
Immediately following the surgery, you can expect to be in the hospital for a few days on IV medication. Sometimes, doctors prescribe back braces and anti-inflammatory medication. Also, a prescription for ice is common. You will likely then increase your activity level. Around three months post-operatively your doctor may recommend a more aggressive physical therapy program. After any formal physical therapy program, you will need to keep up lifelong home exercises to strengthen your core and supporting muscles.