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How Long After Spine Surgery Can You Drive (and Other Activities)

If you are about to have or have recently had spine surgery, you are probably anxious to know when you’ll be able to return to your normal activities. Driving after spine surgery is often one of the things that patients are the most concerned with in terms of getting back to their regular routines. The short answer is that you can drive when you feel up to it, when you are no longer taking narcotic pain medications, and when your Houston spine surgeon gives you the okay. The long answer is a tad more complicated, as everyone’s recovery is unique. Here is a little information to help you know what to expect and how to make your recovery as easy as possible. 

Typical Turnaround Time on Recovery

The length of time it will take you to recover from spine surgery entirely depends on many factors, such as the type of surgery you had, your body’s natural healing abilities, the severity of your symptoms before surgery, and how carefully you adhere to your post-op instructions. 

In years past, spine surgery was dreaded for its tendency to leave patients with as much pain as it helped, with real benefits relatively rare. Today, however, our ability to diagnose and treat back pain and spine conditions has improved dramatically. Modern techniques allow patients to get back to their jobs and daily activities quite reliably. Even patients who have major spine surgery are usually able to return to work and remain active for years after surgery. 

Precautions to Take

After your spine surgery, your orthopedic surgeon in Houston will provide you with post-op recovery instructions to help you heal as quickly and thoroughly as possible. In general, there are a few precautions that you can take to ensure that you give yourself the best odds of healing altogether and help minimize discomfort along the way. 

  • Watch for signs of infection. Keep in mind that infection is a possibility with any surgery. Keep an eye out for signs of infection, such as fever or swelling. Minimize the chances of infection by keeping the incision site clean and taking your medications as prescribed. 
  • Participate in physical therapy. If your Houston spine surgeon recommends physical therapy, be sure to follow through. Physical therapy can help you learn to do the things you enjoy safely without pain, such as driving after spine surgery. 
  • Move regularly. It can be tempting to spend much time resting after surgery, and you should. However, it’s also essential to move. Movement keeps your blood circulating efficiently and helps your body heal more quickly. 
  • Don’t overdo it. While you should be getting some regular exercise (as recommended by your doctor), it’s important not to do too much too soon. Follow recovery instructions carefully, avoiding activities that are prohibited while you’re healing. 
  • Don’t bend or lift. Following most spine surgeries, you shouldn’t bend at the waist or lift anything weighing more than ten pounds. If you must bend, bend at the knees, and only to pick up very light objects. 

If you are looking for an orthopedic surgeon in Houston, contact Dr. Kushwaha today.

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