Ever seen someone walking around with a lumbar brace on, and looking rather stiff? There is a slim chance that they have had a back operation called a spinal fusion. 

This is an operation done to connect two or more vertebrae together. Screws, rods, and plates can be used in a fusion. This operation allows for stability, reduces pain, and is corrective if there is a physical problem such as a prolapsed disc.

After the operation, a hospital stay of 4 to 5 days is normal. Your orthopedic/neurosurgeon will have specific protocols that your physios have been trained in. On day one post-op, the doctor will usually order physio to commence. This first physio visit will include education on all the precautions related to the operation, bed exercises, and mobilising up and out of bed. The physio will teach you ways on how to get in and out of bed safely and will assist you physically. By the second visit from your physio, you will likely be walking with minimal assistance, they will do a series of stretches and bed strengthening exercises with you.

Naturally, it is a big operation, and a lot of people experience pain, however, each day is better than the day before. While admitted you will be provided with the prescribed painkillers to ensure your comfort.

Before being discharged from the hospital there are a few things to be ticked off the physio checklist:

  1. You can walk a fair distance independently, 
  2. Get in and out of bed by yourself,
  3. Climb a flight of stairs if appropriate.

Once you have been discharged and are in the comfort of your own home it is important to monitor your wound and surrounding areas. You should contact your doctor if you have signs of a fever, body chills, or a wound that is leaking pus. 

After you have been cleared by your surgeon it is important to follow up with your physiotherapist. At your follow-up appointment, your physio will further progress your exercises and assist with any residual pain you may still have. This is an excellent way to return to your previous level of function and strength. 

Do you have any questions? Give us a ring before your appointment we may even schedule you for a pre-op consultation to put your mind at ease. Good luck!