Recovering After Cervical Spine Surgery

Recovering from surgery can be a difficult process.  Whether you are going in for oral surgery to get your wisdom teeth removed, or for something more complicated, you will no doubt have a long recovery time.

Cervical spine surgery is no exception.  If you have terrible, chronic neck pain, then you may have already considered this procedure.  Before you decide whether or not it is right for you, you must first consider the recovery that goes along with this kind of surgery.

Not everyone is right for cervical spine surgery.  While you may have bad neck pain, that does not mean you would benefit from the procedure.  There are several health problems that are prime candidates for the surgery, though.  For instance, if you have degenerative disorders, such as painful disc herniation in your neck, you may be right for this procedure.  This is also the case if you have spinal stenosis, cervical deformities, or if you have been in a painful and damaging accident.  In order to know for sure, you’ll need to see a doctor.  Specialists will be able to determine if you are a good candidate for surgery.  If they do think so, there are still some things that you need to consider, including the procedure itself.

Cervical spinal surgery is fairly invasive.  They will open up your neck so that they have access to the spine.  They will then cut out the offending piece, whether it is a disc or a piece of bone.  After that, they fuse the two vertebrae together with the help of a bone graft.  After cervical spine surgery, you will likely feel pretty terrible at first.  This is normal and is all a part of the recovery process.  As you can see from such an invasive surgery, the recovery process can be a bit longer than some people are used to.

After cervical spine surgery, you will need to stay in the hospital for usually at least one full week.  This amount of time varies depending on how well the procedure went, as well as how the surgeon feels about how you deal with the healing process.  Although most of your time in the hospital will be spent in bed, they will request that you get up and walk around starting usually on the first or second day of recovery.  This is needed because it helps alleviate some of the pressure on your spine.

Once out of the hospital, your recovery has only just begun.  You won’t be fully and completely recovered until around five weeks after the surgery.  During this time, you will need to take it easy.  Avoid any activity that can put stress on your spine; especially your neck.  By avoiding this, you are raising the chances of a successful recovery.  People who don’t follow this step find that they have not healed well and may need further surgeries.  Since cervical spine surgery is so invasive, it is best to avoid this.

Even after the five weeks are up, you should avoid any heavy work.  For some people who had a particularly tough surgical procedure, you may not be able to do any heavy work for much longer than that.  If you are unsure about your recovery process, your surgeon will be able to tell you more.  They will likely even have literature such as pamphlets and brochures that they can give you that will tell you more.  Use this information in order to help you decide whether or not the surgery is right for you.  While it does work for a lot of people, this kind of procedure isn’t right for everyone, even if they qualify.

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