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Think Twice Before Going the Couch Potato Route After Microdiscectomy

Not that anybody ever looks forward to surgery, but there are some patients that make plans to catch up on Netflix movies as they recover and recuperate. Though there is certainly nothing wrong with getting plenty of rest and sleep to help you heal, it is important that you don’t limit your activities too much, as getting back on your feet can actually help you recover faster.

Numerous studies have shown that patients who undergo endoscopic microdiscectomy – a procedure commonly performed to repair herniated discs – are able to return to their normal activities and at the same time reduce the amount of scar tissue that forms, by doing something as simple as getting up off of the couch and going for a short walk or any other type of low-impact activity that will strengthen and stretch the muscles of the back. Though common sense must be used and your physician must weigh in based on your own overall health prior to the surgery, all evidence points against bedrest and in favor of getting on a stationary bike, into a pool, or walking around the block.

Whether you’ve already had your surgery or are planning ahead, it is important to remember not to bite off more than you can chew. Your first walk should be a very short distance at a slow pace. After you see how you tolerate that distance, you can add a couple of blocks a day with the goal of essentially working your way up to approximately three miles per day or more. The goal is to return your body to motion following a study published in the journal BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders showing that the healing process is expedited and patients are able to return to their normal activities faster if instead of sitting around, they are active.

Patients generally undergo a microdiscectomy to correct a herniated disc after other measures such as physical therapy, medication or epidural injections have failed. The surgeon makes tiny incisions in the back, then uses an endoscope to facilitate their ability to see the damage in the spine’s structures and trim them away. The damage is generally to the spinal discs that provide cushioning between the vertebrae, as well as a small piece of bone that is generally removed in order to make it easier for the surgery to be accomplished. The overall goal is to provide more space for the spinal nerves that are generating the pain by virtue of coming into contact with these structures.

The surgical techniques used in a minimally invasive microdiscectomy are a marked improvement over traditional surgery. They damage far less tissue, leave the patient less vulnerable to blood loss and infection, and generally mean that the patient is able to return home the same day. The key to a quick return to normal lies in what happens from that point on: the more you lay around, the more you cheat yourself of a quick recuperation.

For more information on how a microdiscectomy can help you and what to anticipate after the surgery, contact our office today to set up an appointment.