Luckily, surgery is only necessary in a relatively small number of cases involving back problems. Non-invasive methods such as chiropractic care are available for treating a wide range of spinal conditions, including back pain, sciatica and herniated discs. However, in some severe cases, particularly those involving fractured vertebrae, scoliosis, kyphosis, and when degenerative disc disease has progressed to a point where the spinal nerves are being compressed and causing constant pain, surgery may be necessary.
Many people ask, “How long does recovery from spinal surgery take?” The answer varies greatly depending on the extent of the surgery and the techniques used as well as the general physical condition and behavior of the patient. Recovery time can range anywhere from two weeks to a year, with the average being about 12 weeks. However, there are some things you can do to help speed recovery, including receiving chiropractic care.
While regular chiropractic care can help keep you off the operating table in the first place, it can also help you to recover from back surgery if it does become necessary. Despite what you may think, visiting a chiropractor after back surgery does not have to be a cause for anxiety. Licensed chiropractors are among the most experienced healthcare professionals when it comes to treating spinal problems of all types. They will give you a thorough examination to assess your particular situation before beginning any kind of treatment. This examination will usually involve taking a detailed medical history, doing a careful physical evaluation and (where appropriate) ordering diagnostic imaging such as an x-ray or MRI.
Chiropractic care may not be appropriate for some time following certain types of procedures. For example, a spinal fusion surgery should generally be allowed to heal for a year before having chiropractic treatment. Consult with your surgeon and chiropractor about the best timing to begin chiropractic manipulation. As patients who have had spinal fusions often continue to experience pain post-surgery, they in particular may benefit from chiropractic care provided it is delivered at the appropriate time and in the appropriate manner.
A case report that was published in the Journal of the Academy of Chiropractic Orthopedists in 2009 noted that those patients who reported pain after spinal fusion surgery found relief with a combination of distraction decompression and spinal adjustment therapies. If you have had spinal fusion surgery, check to be sure your chiropractor can use non-rotational methods of spinal manipulation to treat you.
Chiropractic care for back surgery that does not involve spinal fusion is also a good idea. After your back has had some time to recover, it’s important to get it moving again, and your chiropractor can help to relax the muscles and realign vertebrae that may have become misaligned from surgery or in the days of recovery following. Chiropractic adjustments can help to stimulate the flow of fluids to the spinal area, bringing oxygen and nutrients to the spinal tissues and carrying away waste material in order to speed healing.
Your chiropractor can also provide you with exercises you can do at home to strengthen your back and core muscles that will allow you to get back to your normal life more quickly and help to keep you from having to undergo any further back surgeries.