What is recovery like after spine surgery?

The expert’s work does not end in the operating room.

Today, minimally invasive surgical techniques have made it possible for patients to recover more quickly and with less discomfort. In addition, the surgeon has the possibility of having greater precision in the movements thanks to the equipment used. However, the work of the expert does not end in the operating room. Once the intervention has been performed, we enter a second phase in which, in order to improve the results of the surgery, the specialist has to implement different recovery techniques.

What is the surgeon’s role in the patient’s recovery?

For this second phase mentioned above, it is essential that all the specialists work under the surgeon’s indications, respecting the healing periods. It is important to work from a multidisciplinary perspective between physiotherapists, readapters and even, in some cases, a dietician. In this way, the patient feels supported from the day of the intervention until complete recovery.

This method ensures that the patient’s recovery is faster, gains mobility and has less post-surgical pain. Therefore, the surgeon’s work is based on study, research and the development of techniques to improve the results obtained. It is the time to try to modulate the pain response that is no longer controllable surgically.

After the intervention, the patient notices a spectacular improvement, which in the following days will change due to the action of the nerves in the area that produce a discharge of neurotransmissions which causes a pain that lasts about 2 weeks.

What techniques are used for the patient’s recovery?

New rehabilitation and neuromodulation techniques are used to alleviate symptoms and discomfort after minimally invasive spine surgery. Their main objective is to change the usual response of the nerve after surgery so that the patient responds in a different and controlled manner. This response is achieved through techniques such as:

  • Introduction of intraoperative growth stimulating factors in the space where the medulla is released. These factors are obtained from the patient’s own blood by centrifuging the platelets which, when activated, release the factors that have an anti-inflammatory and regenerative effect. The application of this technique has meant a great advance in the recovery of patients with cauda equina (final part of the spinal cord injury) when they lose control of their sphincters due to the loss of strength in their legs.
  • Nerve neuromodulation with electrical stimulation through acupuncture needles for residual pain that consists of modulating the response by stimulating the nerve. In this way electrons are sent and the response that reaches the brain is controlled by modulating the nerve response. This reduces pain and reestablishes an optimal balance in the biology of the nerves and the tissues innervated by them.
  • New non-invasive neuromodulatory devices; (SIS) Super inductive system. These are devices that seek the same effect as acupuncture by means of light impulses. This technique can be used in post-surgical patients or to improve back pain in patients who do not need to undergo surgery. Among the therapeutic effects they offer are: joint mobilization, acceleration of fracture healing, myostimulation and reduction of spasticity.
  • Specific physiotherapy in which the physiotherapist specializing in spine, the readaptor and the surgeon maintain direct contact so that, through the indications of the latter, the therapy can be applied to activate the structures that were not working before. In this way, the hip stabilizing musculature is strengthened and better lumbo-pelvic control is sought.
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In short, the objective is to work the muscle so that it generates movement and the movement suppresses the pain. If the muscle starts working again, the pain will gradually decrease.