Lumbar disc replacement is considered when the chronic pain is not treated with physical therapy or other non-surgical options. This artificial disc operation can treat low back pain, correct deformities, strengthen stability of spine and improve patient function.
Lumbar disc replacement is a type of spine surgery which involves removing the problematic disc from the lower part of the spine and inserting spinal implants. This type of surgery is considered easier than other types, such as spinal fusion surgery, as the patient experience an easier life after lumbar disc replacement. The artificial discs, typically made of plastic or metal, are implanted into the spine to imitate the behavior of the natural disc.
How is life after lumbar disc replacement?
Low back pain is a common health issue and one of the leading causes of disability. Lumbar disc replacement is considered when the chronic pain is not treated with physical therapy or other non-surgical options. This artificial disc operation can treat low back pain, correct deformities, strengthen stability of spine and improve patient function.
While lumbar disc replacement is a proved treatment, many patients are afraid of the way their life is going to be after the surgery. Here we will talk about the details of the post-operative conditions and the problems with lumbar artificial disc replacement. Having enough knowledge helps the overall success of the problems you may face in your new life after lumbar disc replacement.
By reading this article, you will have a realistic picture of the life after lumbar disc replacement.
Is disc replacement surgery painful?
It is common to experience some pain after every surgery, so try to have real expectations. One of the greatest worries of the patients is how to deal with the pain. Like typical orthopedic implants, lumbar disk replacement is a surgery that requires a general hospital stay, typically for few days, and a series of conservative cares at home for about three months. What happens after a lumbar disc replacement is important for patients’ rehabilitation. Make sure your spine surgeon develops a pain control plan and provides postoperative guidelines for you.
To control your recovery process, you can also follow some instructions at home:
Here are some effective pain control tips:
- Apply ice or heat packs: lumbar disc replacement surgery may cause swelling around the nerves and the wound. You can put ice compress bags to reduce the inflammation. The heat packs are helpful to soothe the muscle spasms. The instruction may vary for every patient, but it is typically recommended to apply packs 4-5 times a day.
- Take prescribed ani-inflammatory and muscles relaxant medicine or over-the-counter pain killers to alleviate your pain.
- Try mindfulness meditation: You may control part of your pain by controlling your anxiety. You can try this stress reduction technique every day to relieve your pain.
How long do you have pain after lumbar disc replacement?
This question is one of the most important concerns of the patients undergoing orthopedic implants, especially lumbar disc replacement. The good news is that the pain is temporary and it is alleviated as soon as the nerves healed. It may take a few weeks for your low spine to be healed from severe pain. Most of your healing will take place within the first month.
Bear in your mind that it is important to monitor your pain level to have a helpful context for your checkups.
Another problem with lumbar artificial disc replacement that worries the patients is the time it takes for the patients to walk. Life after lumbar disk replacement is getting back to normal condition in a slow process. Motion will be limited after surgery; however, you need to start standing and walking within the first days.
The general tips go as follows:
- You need to walk with cane or walker withing the first days helping you restore your stability.
- Your spinal surgeon may encourage you to careful movement and slight exercises. The mild workouts include gentle twists and stretch to help you strengthen the back and overcome the problems with lumbar artificial disc replacement.
- To heal the wounds, gentle aerobic is typically recommended to boost the circulation and increase the level of oxygen.
- You may need to avoid staying in one position for a long time to reduce pressure on your spine. It is recommended to change your positions in intervals specially if a specific position is painful.
Remember that to regain full strength you need to stay active during the recovery process but avoid severe activities. Ask your spinal surgeon to give you precise instruction on how to move properly after the lumbar disc replacement.
How long does it take to resume normal activity?
Recovery process may be different for every person depending on the general health of the patient. It may take one to three months for you to return to most of your normal activities. Depending on the degree of symptoms, physical therapy may also help in the first couple of weeks for some cases.
If you need to plan in advance, remember that may need some help at home with things like household chores, bathing and shopping.
Another conservative care your spinal surgeon may prescribe is wearing a light back brace to control the movement. It is not prescribed for all the patients undergoing lumbar disc replacement, it depends on the general condition of the patient. The back brace is typically prescribed for two weeks to prevent the damages caused by the severe movements. The damage may be caused by overextending the muscles protecting the spine.
Now you may have a clear picture of the life after lumbar disc replacement and almost a clear answer to this common question: do we really back to the normal life?
The answer is yes if you choose the best spinal surgeons, follow the guidelines, take proper conservative cares and at the end have real expectations of the life after lumbar disc replacement.
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