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After surgery on your spine, your physician will want you to go to physical therapy sessions. This may sound scary, but it is necessary to help you recover and prevent future re-injury. Here is what you can expect and some tips for the best rehabilitation experience.
Finding the Right Therapist
To get your physical therapy started, your doctor will write a referral that will state these things:
It is okay to be assertive and ask for a physical therapist who is trained/experienced in working with patients who have had spine surgery.
Developing an Individualized Program
You and your therapist will work together on establishing some short-term and long-term goals for your therapy. It is helpful to know what those are so you can build motivation by achieving the shorter objectives and also, to look forward to reaching the bigger goals. The program should also be tailored specifically for you and your condition.
Your therapist will teach you some easy exercises to do at home, how to use ice packs to relieve pain and swelling, and how to move in ways that won't exacerbate symptoms. Pain relief may also include the use of a TENS device that uses electrical pulses to alleviate discomfort.
Knowing How Much Discomfort to Tolerate
You will probably experience some brief and minor discomfort with therapy as the muscles, joints, and other body tissues adjust.
You need to listen to your body. Each time you go in for a therapy session, your therapist will want to know how you are feeling on that particular day so if you are having a bad day, they can help you modify the routine to cause less discomfort. It may be that you need to work up to certain exercises at a slower pace.
You should be careful not to overdo your home routine, and to slow down or stop if you are experiencing significant pain.
Talk to your physician and therapist if any of the exercises are making your symptoms worse. It may be that you feel pain right away or sometime later. Either way, it is a message from your body that you should listen to.
Anticipating the Outcome
It may seem difficult at times, but physical therapy can help you to regain strength and stabilize your spine better and quicker than without it.Share