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Patient Info: How long is the Recovery from Back Surgery

In this fast paced world, where everything moves at lighting speeds and unbelievable paces, people are often looking for quick fix approaches to solve whatever problems they may be experiencing in their lives.

When you are constantly suffering from the symptoms of back pain from a herniated disc or discs, some form of degenerative disease, pinched nerve, sciatica, tumor, and have tried all other alternatives to overcome back pain only to be unsuccessful, your doctor may suggest going for a spine surgery as a possible solution. Yet one very important question that a patient often asks is" Just how long is the recovery from back surgery?"

To undergo any form of invasive surgery in itself can be a terrifying process, especially for those who are experiencing it for the first time. There are a lot of psychological and emotional issues that needs to be handled delicately to avoid any unnecessary trauma and negative long term side effects.

The type of surgical procedure, your current health and the right post-operative care you have will ultimately determines how long is the recovery from back surgery. While the rate of recovery varies from one patient to another, there are similar processes that every patient goes through during the road to recovery.

Pre-Operative Care

As with all major types of surgery, you will often be required to be hospitalized for at least two days prior to the operation. This is done to ensure that your condition will be suitable for the operation, with proper food intake and the correct mindset, is vital for a successful operation and speedy recovery.

Post Operative Care

A spinal surgery may be the solution you need to end your nagging back pain. Yet there is no surgical recovery that does not involve a considerable amount of pain. However, your doctor or surgeon will usually prescribe a painkiller or a pain controlled analgesic, which is actually a small unit that allows you to receive pain medication in small amounts with the push of a button. The doctor will decide the amount of pain medication you need, but you can actually administer them yourself by controlling the button, without waiting for the nurse to assist you.


Your doctor will often prescribe some form of exercise for you, right from day one after the back surgery, to assist in motion and relieving muscle tension as well as to prevent blood from clogging. Most of these physical activities are done with the help of a nurse or an assistant. Physical therapy is imperative to facilitate speedy healings. Before you can be discharged, you need to exhibit a certain level of physical ability to handle the normal daily activities such as bathing and dressing.

Ice and heat

Sometimes, ice packs may be applied to assist in making the blood vessels smaller or vasoconstrict and thus resulting in a decreased blood flow. This can reduce swelling and inflammation and minimize pain. Heat therapy, on the other hand, is used to promote faster blood flow by expanding the blood vessel, so that the nutrient, oxygen and recuperative tissues can be channeled to the targeted areas to facilitate faster recovery.

Relaxation and rest

How long is the recovery from back surgery? The answer to this question is very much determined by the amount of rest and relaxation you get during the recuperative period. Proper relaxation can help your body to heal and ease soreness after a back surgery. Proper positioning of the spine during sleep is also another crucial step to recovery. Often pillows and towels are used for stabilization of the spine and relieve pressure from the affected area.

It is not a good idea to curl yourself up into a "fetal" position nor strain your back by positioning yourself in ways that can add extra tension to your spine. To get out of bed, simply roll yourself and sit up while keeping your spine straight. A firm hard mattress will make the job easier for you. Avoid bending if you can and do not carry heavy materials during the recovery period from your back surgery.

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