Woman wearing back brace with hands on low back

Caring for Your Spine After Surgery

Multiple procedures can be performed on your spine, some more invasive than others. But with modern-day technology, some of these procedures only require a few small cuts as opposed to large incisions and take less time to recover.

Regardless of the procedure, receiving surgery on your spine can take a heavy toll on one’s body. To ensure a safe and complete recovery, it is crucial to take extra careful care of yourself post-surgery.

Here are a few tips for monitoring your recovery to make sure you are getting the best care possible.

Wound Care

After surgery, you may feel slight pain and discomfort. The area surrounding the incision may also be tender and inflamed. If the swelling and tenderness worsen, or the surgery site is warm and experiencing more drainage than usual, contact your surgeon immediately.

Typically, your surgeon will give you specific instructions on bathing and keeping the skin around your incision clean. Keeping the incision clean and dry is pertinent to the healing process.

Your surgeon will also specify any instructions regarding changing the dressing to the wound. For minimally invasive procedures, dressing changes are often not necessary.


Some patients can sit, stand, and walk independently on the day of or day after their surgery. The surgeon will identify any restrictions or limitations for the patient in regards to mobilization. Usually, patients are required to perform no bending, lifting, or twisting post-surgery. In addition to lots of rest, it is often encouraged for patients to gradually increase their amount of walking overtime per their comfort level.

Continuous sitting can stiffen the muscles and cause additional stress on your spine. Light housework or frequently moving around is encouraged.


You may be concerned about how you might sleep comfortably after spinal surgery. Your surgeon will make recommendations, but there are ways to help make your sleep a bit more peaceful.

Sleeping on a firm mattress that supports your spinal alignment will be helpful in your overall recovery. Using a pillow under your knees to relax your spinal muscles will also help make your rest more pleasant.

In an effort to change your position and turn your body, it is important to turn your shoulders and hips simultaneously to avoid any twisting. To sit up from the bed, turn on your side closest to the edge of the bed. Keeping your knees together, push yourself up using both of your hands, allowing the weight of your legs to swing to the floor as you sit up.

Physical Therapy

In most situations, surgeons will recommend for patients to go to physical therapy. Physical therapy helps strengthen your back muscles and improve flexibility and mobility post-surgery. Together, the patient and therapist will create a plan of care filled with therapeutic exercises and stabilization techniques to get the patient feeling good as new.

If you are experiencing back pain and think physical therapy may be right for you, our team of experts at COR Medical Centers can do a comprehensive evaluation. Contact us today to schedule your appointment!