Patients are often afraid to participate in any type of physical activity following spinal fusion. They fear a recurrence of the pain or that it will inhibit healing, when movement is the best therapy for recovery and rehabilitation. Physical therapy can begin any time following surgery and is beneficial for alleviating pain, to accelerate healing and reducing the risk of injury as patients learn new movement patterns.
Exercise programs typically begin 4 to 6 weeks following surgery for the most rapid decline in pain and disability prevention. A physical therapy program for spinal fusion is necessarily gentle and doesn’t require vigorous workouts. Therapy assists patients in preventing damage to surrounding soft tissues as they learn new movement patterns and aids in keeping the spine in proper alignment.