Learn What to Expect during Your Herniated Disc Surgery Recovery
Herniated disc surgery recovery varies from case to case, though many patients can return to work one to three weeks following surgery, and experience a full recovery within three months. Dr. Aron Rovner is a leading spine surgeon who will take all the time needed to help you understand what to expect before, during, and after the procedure. He and his team work closely with patients to ensure that they heal as quickly and safely as possible, and experience the maximum benefits of surgery. To learn more about herniated disc surgery recovery, we invite you to contact our New Jersey practice today.
If you are experiencing back pain, and have questions about treatment options and the recovery involved, we are here to help.
The Recovery Timeline
The specific timeline of your recovery will depend greatly on the cause of the herniation, where it is located in the spine, the type of surgery performed, your normal routine and job, and how quickly you heal. However, thanks to minimally invasive surgical techniques, patients can expect an easier and more comfortable recovery than ever before.
Immediately following surgery, your doctor will monitor you for a short time to ensure that no complications arise. If all appears well, you will be released from the hospital that day.
A herniated disc can cause considerable pain, and when the pressure is relieved, patients usually notice the difference immediately. However, patients should expect pain and inflammation at the incision site. It is important to keep in mind that the way you feel immediately after surgery does not always reflect what your long-term recovery will be like. Even if you do not feel immediate relief, you can recover as quickly as patients who do, and vice versa.
Pain Management and Physical Recuperation
Recovery can be broken down into two parts: pain management and physical recuperation. Immediate discomfort can be curbed with a combination of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) such as ibuprofen, mild painkillers, and ice therapy. Because painkillers can be addictive, it is important to limit use to about two weeks or less, and switch to over-the-counter pain medication after the pain subsides.
In the first 48 hours after surgery, ice can help substantially in managing pain. Applying a cold compress for 20-minute intervals every one to two hours can minimize discomfort. Patients should take care not to apply the ice directly to the skin to avoid ice burns. After the first few days, ice is more important in managing any activity-related discomfort than baseline pain.
Patients should begin a gentle exercise routine soon after their procedure. Early mobilization can relieve secondary soft tissue pain and many patients report that increasing the amount of stretching, strengthening, and conditioning over time prevents long-term discomfort. Gentle stretching and walking in the first 6 to 12 weeks is particularly important in minimizing scar tissue. Strengthening and conditioning should start two to three weeks after your surgery. Patients should only stretch to the point of pain, not beyond. Overexerting your body can trigger inflammation and lead to complications or delayed recovery.
Returning to Your Normal Routine
Depending on the job, many patients can return to modified work duties in seven to 10 days, and full duties in two to three weeks. The majority of patients are fully healed within three months, when the surgical site has completely scarred.
In most cases, your surgeon will recommend that pain guide the timeline. If you are still feeling discomfort after three weeks, you should delay returning to work. Even if you are feeling better than expected, stay aware of your limits to avoid compromising your recovery and results.
Contact Us Today
Dr. Rovner and his team pair expertise with the latest technology to minimize your discomfort and ensure a successful return to your normal activity level. If you are experiencing back pain, and have questions about treatment options and the recovery involved, please reach out to us today.