Undergoing a Laminectomy: What to Expect Post-Surgery

Apr 13, 2022

Do you have an upcoming surgery? You might be worried about the outcomes of the procedure. It is completely normal to feel anxious. An impending surgery is enough to cause agitation and uneasiness in even the bravest of individuals. And these thoughts might lead you to refuse a surgery that you really need! Ask your healthcare provider to address your queries and clear all your misconceptions before you make a decision. Read this article to get an idea about the kind of lifestyle you’ll need to adopt after undergoing a laminectomy.  

It’s not the procedure patients are afraid of, it’s the post-surgical life they get anxious about. They want to know if it’s going to be painful and how long it will take to fully recover.

You may also want to read: Lumbar Laminectomy Surgery: Procedure, Risks and Recovery

Recommended Exercises after Undergoing a Laminectomy

The best practice is to start with exercises as light as ankle pumps and gradually transit to more advanced exercises like rotational stretches. The most commonly recommended exercises after undergoing a laminectomy are;

  • Walk
  • Prone leg raises
  • Prone Press-ups
  • Pelvic tits
  • Wall squats
  • Cat stretches
  • Nerve gliding exercises
  • Exercises with a medicine ball
  • Hip and core strengthening exercises
  • Spine flexion exercises

However, make sure you get plenty of rest and avoid any exercise that is physically demanding like bending, lifting, pulling, pushing heavy objects, or engaging yourself in any strenuous exercise.

Post Laminectomy syndrome

People with chronic back pain due to deformed spinal structure or pinched nerves undergo laminectomy in the hope to lose this pain. But, in some cases, even after the surgery the pain doesn’t go away. Patients complain about persistent pain in their lower back weeks after the surgery. This persistent pain is called post-laminectomy syndrome. Following are some of the symptoms of Post Laminectomy Syndrome;

  • Pain at the incision site
  • Neuropathic pain
  • Numbness and weakness
  • Feeling pain as intense as before the surgery

Recovery after Undergoing a Laminectomy

A doctor helping patient to walk

Once you wake up after the surgery, the doctor may ask you to try walking on your own so she can look for complications if there are any. You might go home on the same day although some patients are asked to stay at the hospital for a couple of days. Your doctor may advise physical therapy after this procedure to improve your strength and flexibility.

It’s very common to experience lower limb pain on the third or fourth day of the surgery. This pain would not be as severe as you had experienced before undergoing a laminectomy but it can be quite uncomfortable. Painkillers prescribed by your doctor can help relieve this pain.

Recovery after any surgery depends on the fitness level of the patient. Complete recovery may take 4 to 6 weeks depending on the patient’s age and general health. Treatment options vary but mostly it is treated with painkillers and physical therapies.

Precautionary measures after Undergoing a Laminectomy

Precautionary measures after Undergoing a Laminectomy

You should be very careful during the first few days after surgery. Avoid any kind of exercise that is not recommended by the doctor. While it may seem easy to climb stairs a few days after surgery, this movement can put stress on your spine and slow down your recovery.

Remember to keep your spine in a neutral position and maintain good posture throughout the day. And you will also need a proper technique to lift objects because you have to avoid any kind of stress on your spine.

Diet

  • You will need to take plenty of fluids to stay hydrated
  • You may notice irregular bowel movements. Try to avoid constipation and straining 
  • You should take a fiber supplement daily to help you with food digestion

Posture

  • It will be important to maintain normal spinal curves because slouching or sliding down in your chair places undue stress on your back. 
  • You will be required to take frequent breaks by standing and stretching yourself every 30  minutes.
  • The best sleeping position to reduce your pain is either on your back with your knees bent and a pillow under your knees or on your side with your knees bent and a pillow between your legs.

Activity Modification

  • For a couple of months, you will be required to modify the way you perform your routine activities. 
  • Arrange some equipment like a grabber tool for your help
  • Having a logroll to change positions is also recommended

Let us take care of You

We know the idea of having surgery can cause anxiety and leave you with many unanswered questions. Your concerns are extremely important to us. You can rely on Southern California Brain & Spine Surgery to provide you best healthcare services and make your road to recovery from surgery as comfortable as possible. We have a team of experts led by Dr. Moksha Ranasinghe who specialize in providing medical care to patients suffering from brain and spine diseases. You can schedule an appointment by filling up the contact form or call at (213) 369-4583. 

Dr. Moksha Ranasinghe

About Dr. Moksha Ranasinghe

Dr. Moksha Ranasinghe is an “American Board of Neurological Surgery” certified neurosurgeon affiliated with reputable hospitals like Good Samaritan Hospital Los Angeles and St. Vincent’s Medical Center. She provides high-quality care to her patients suffering from neurological disorders and has successfully treated a number of patients over the years. She is one of the top reviewed neurosurgeons on Healthgrades. Now you can find her at Southern California Brain & Spine surgery for consultancy and treatment. Check our website for more details.