What to Expect After Back Surgery


The type of back surgery you have will determine the duration of your healing time. Back surgery is an invasive procedure that is usually done to correct nerve damage due to compressed discs. Most back surgeries have successful outcomes.

Recovery Time

  • Expect a recovery phase of at least three to 12 weeks, depending on the area of the spine that is being operated on and the extent of the damage to your back.

Hospital Stay

  • Your hospital stay can be as short as a week if you are only having cervical surgery, or it could be a matter of a week or two. A person who has scoliosis or severe damage from an accident may have to stay longer.

The First Day

  • Your first day in the hospital will be dedicated to rest. You have undergone a major, invasive surgery, so you will likely need a considerable amount of pain medicine. You will be given a liquid diet until your bowels wake up. They are the last thing to wake up after sedation.

Second Day

  • On the second day, any tubes that may have been inserted will be removed, and your pain medicine will be adjusted. You will probably have to get up and walk, too. On the second day, you will receive a full meal as long as your bowels have started functioning normally.


  • Back surgery requires a rehabilitation, which can range from minor to extensive. Your rehabilitation will consist of a lot of walking, which is considered the best exercise for back surgery patients. When you go home, your rehabilitation will continue. People who have extensive surgery sometimes go to a rehabilitation unit to undergo more rigorous rehabilitation.

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