Postoperative care advices following cervical disc herniation surgery

Senior jooging1- Stroll: Short but frequent strolls. Walk short distances each day and increase them progressively. Walking is key to your recovery since it strengthens the muscles and prevents muscle atrophy.
2- Do not lift anything heavier than 4 kgr during the first two weeks after surgery. Overall, do not lift anything that might be too “heavy” or may cause your back to bend. Avoid pulling, twisting or bending your back over the first 4 weeks. Avoid high-impact exercises. You can use an exercise bike. These activities should gradually be increased after 4-6 weeks.
3- Do not drive while taking pain medications containing opioids (for example tramadol or codeine).
4- Going back to work: this will be discussed after the operation in a personalized way.
5- In general, most patients who undergo a cervical discectomy at a certain level and have an “office job” can return to work about 2-3 weeks after surgery. However, you may be able to return to work before this if you feel physically and mentally ready, without having to take any narcotic medications at work.
6- There is no need to wear a cervical collar unless instructed otherwise.
7- To sleep, better on your back or on your side with a pillow to keep the cervical spine straight.
8- Do not get the wound wet until eight days after the operation (procedure for first intervention) and 16 days if it is a reoperation. If the wound is wet, the skin is more likely to re-open.
9- Exposing the wound to the sun may cause hypertrophic scars. For the first 15 days after surgery, if the wound is exposed, apply sunscreen onto it (FP 30 or more) for at least 9- 12 months.
10- Try not to take nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) after a bone fusion, such as ibuprofen or aspirin for example, within 3 months after the surgery unless instructed by the surgical team, your doctor or other specialists that think they are necessary to reduce the pain. They could affect the fusion of the spine.
11- Try not to smoke. It affects postoperative recovery.
12- It is not unusual to feel contracture, pain, or intermittent tingling of the arm/s or shoulder /s affected after surgery and for even weeks. Do not be alarmed. It is due to the compression during a long period of time of the nerve that now has to recover.
13-The first few days after surgery you may notice difficulty swallowing. This is due to the proper surgical approach. Do not be alarmed, they will pass.
14-The first few days after surgery you may notice dysphonia, which is usually transitory.


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Cervical Spine Specialist
Barcelona. Spain
Phone: +34 93 220 28 09

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