Top 10 Tips for Recovering Well After Spine Surgery

Despite decades of experience operating on spines, Dr. Paul Asdourian, former Chief of Spine Surgery at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital and now a leader at MedStar Orthopaedic Institute, learned, even more, when he became a spine surgery patient himself. Watch to pick up 10 tips that will help you have an optimal recovery after your spine surgery, and learn more at MedStarOrtho.org.

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Comment (218)

  1. Thank you for the words and video! On day six of my Laminectomy surgery and I could not be happier as of now, Continued healing and health your way!!

  2. "….the hospital provides you with pretty much everything you need". Absolutely not! I got nothing! My diagnosis was sepsis, back pain. The cost to treat me( at a hospital in the state of Florida) could have been a few hundred dollars( a bag of saline solution, Bactrim and Ativan/felexeril. Instead at a cost of $138,000 they did posterior lumbar spinal fusion(no complications) at one level of l5- S1. Elder financial abuse at its grossest! Of course I was released a few days later with sepsis in full force( I got antibiotics from a teleconference call at the general practioner's office, I was not given antibiotics during my earlier, 9 days before, during an office consultation). Tell the male employee who identified himself as Joey from radiology(he did an MRI) to actually send my watch and tie bar to security as promised, these items were no where to be found when I called from my hospital room the next day, and tell the nurse if she sees 3 trays of food for breakfast, lunch and dinner to ask me…may I please feed you something you must be hungry by now, and tell the nurse not to intimidate the patient by holding a syringe of lovenox( I thought that was highly contra-indicated after spinal surgery) high in the air but to keep it in the rectangular aluminum covered tray until ready to dispense( I refused the lovenox) and tell the group of nurses that were called to the room next to me not to GIVE an elderly man a seizure if he does not want the catheter, he expired (as a direct result of their misbehavior) and a new much younger patient with mild shoulder pain replaced the now empty room within 2 hours, and tell the nurse not to rip-out the catheter full force out of my penis because if the tables were turned I would have removed it from her body gently, and why did I have to have a blood/cerebrospinal fluid drainage bulb of 30 ml capacity in my back for 3 days, which had to be emptied 6 to 8 times?)and please tell the patient PhysicalTherapy administrator who walked into my room for a mere 15 seconds not to say 'you must need to use the bathroom I"ll come back later'. This was her ploy/her exit strategy…. I could not keep up with her rapid walking speed. At the nurses counter they said not to worry a different hospital employee will be back tomorrow to speak with you about after hospital care(that did not happen any of the three remaining days of my stay) and tell the discharge clerk not to talk in a confusing manner whether the hospital will provide transportation home or if I have to call UBER ( of course, I had to call UBER at my expense, about $8.00). The patient has his eyes looking through the crosshairs of a guide scope for a successful surgery and diminished back pain but as you can clearly see there is more than a million and one things that will prevent this from happening!

  3. They placed a Posey patient alarm on a chair in my hospital room and told me to sit there. They thought I was a nuisance by walking the hospital hallways (my floor only and on my side of the floor) too often after my lumbar spinal fusion

  4. $469.06 fraudulent charge to a wine company(in the state of New Jersey) within 3 hours of me giving my credit card number, expiration date and 3 digit security code(my foolish mistake) to the hospital representative(in the state of Florida) , that called me on the telephone, asking for a first payment towards my hospital bill

  5. Many patients report first-time-ever recurring flank pain after spine surgery. Trying to surgically correct for back pain invariably brings about new
    pain in the hips, abdomen or spine(index or adjacent area)

  6. I have been with my laminectomy discectomy over a year and a half and now I am passing out When I am in movement or doing something a little heavy

  7. Thank you, I’m heading into surgery as well. My neurosurgeon advised me that I need a cervical 360 with a Discectomy and Fusion and I’m suffering from chronic pain too, can’t move my thumbs and the arm pain is awful!!😷🦋

  8. How long should you feel pain? All sciatic pain was gone immediately after surgery. A week later off all pain meds including Tylenol, but at 4 months when I bend even an inch or 2 forward it kills? Are my bones not fusing? Dr. Mentioned subsidence? Also said at 3 months bones don't look like they are fusing? How long can it take. What can I do other than walk and sit or lay in bed. Anytime I try and do anything like carry milk up stairs or stand up and straighten my back it kills. Surgeon said he was surprised given I was so far ahead right after surgery but now, I feel like I am still at week 2 or 3 and not improving. Basic PT did more harm than good. Any thoughts. Never drank or smoked no diabetes? taking vitamin D and drinking tons of Milk and lost about 10 pounds. Thanks for any advice.

  9. I'm 20 year old and had a herniated disc. Its been over a year since surgery and I'm in even worse pain than ever, can't work, can sleep well, can't drive alot, can't hang out with friends nearly as much, cant please my girlfriend and every doctor I've been to has done nothing to help me. I've expended all resources and now it's just pills and pt. Month after month of no improvement. The only way I see this ending is with suicide. I don't know what to do anymore or where to go. I'm in a constant state of suffering now.

  10. I got fused in one level on lower spine….. let me just tell you there is a procedure where they can go in and burn the nerve sending message of pain to brain….it’s not lifelong and it only lasts a couple years if at that , but let me tell you this…. it completely beats any spinal fusion …. my wife had it done after seeing me go through all my complications during surgery …. doctors can only advise ….PLEASE make sure to do your your research and GOD BLeSS!!!

  11. Thank you doctor for sharing your experience and giving great advice. I had a spinal fusion 2 months ago, L5-S1, still going for physiotherapy but am so scared of doing anything wrong, like any movements and I feel a little pain I worry ☹ I guess that's normal. I look forward to full recovery after few more months.

  12. 2 weeks ago a spine surgery happened on me. It was L4 – L5 UNI TLIF(left side) (Globous) . sir by mistakely I have done masturation after 12 the day of surgery and now I am worried about it.. I am a 23 years old Boy.
    Please tell me is it going to very bad for me…..
    Please ans. Sir Please…🙏

  13. Thanks for sharing the video . It’s a year now I had my spine surgery L5s1 decompression. I feel so good now.
    Do u recommend me to start some light exercises on rowing machine??

  14. Get back to us in a couple more years bet you won't be operating on patience anymore and being a doctor you can probably write your own perceptions for pain medication cause you will have pain if in fact you actually had a spinal fusion.. you said you had spine surgery that could be anything

  15. I watched the video twice The good doctor was not specific on the type of back surgery he had.There's a major difference between a microdiscectomy and an actual fusion Make sure you know the difference do lot's of research and get lots of opinions IF YOU get a fusion just to relieve your back pain you'll be very disappointed

  16. What about the depression that’s been proven to occur after spine surgery? Why not mention that to patients. This surgery has ruined my life, my career and my activities. I hate doctors.

  17. As a Fitness Instructor , I thought spine surgery will never be a part of my life. But 3 days ago I finally had to have it done and so far, I am so grateful I did .
    I hope for a recovery and being back to normal. My message to all: do not neglect your pain, talk to your doctor. Do not be scared!
    Thanks for your great video !

  18. I
    *cervical laminectomy fusion*
    I’m almost 3 months in and if I move a certain way or get a hug (not even a tight hug) I get vibrations down my entire body or in the palm of my hands or legs … I’m a bit scared ? Unsure if this has happen to anyone?!

  19. My ACDF surgery is on the 17th and this video has helped me so much.. 2021 will be my year and hopefully this won’t fail! Good luck to everyone who is having this op ☺️

  20. This is an awesome testimony Doctor, sir! Thank you! I feel so much more at ease now going into this procedure. Especially knowing that you know exactly what we're going through. Thank you kindly 🙏

  21. I am 12, I do dance and Im very active, my doctors are almost sure that I need surgery. My degrees went from 9 to 38 with wearing a brace, do you guys have any advice or explain what to prepare for. Also can you let me know what I cant do for the rest of my life.

  22. I am NKBhatt, from Nainital India,
    Gone through spine surgery TLIF in jan'20 L4, L5, Till then I am not doing any exercise except walking, feeling mussels spasms & stiffness, pl suggest exercise, is now possible for Bending &Twisting,

  23. Wow! I like the fact you speak for personal experience and you are an actual surgeon. Those two things combined help me make this decision I am scared to do. But I am tired of taking narcotics and I am soon to graduate from school. I won't be accepted to any job if I can't pass a drug test with pain killers to deal with the pain daily. I have had spine injections to help with the pain, but I am now determine to have surgery. Thank your for sharing and encouraging me to do this next step to live a better life, free from constant pain due to C5 disc.

  24. Thank you for this. I'm having a laminectomy this Friday. Best wishes and a speedy recovery to all who have to deal with this in hopes of having a pain free and more normal day to day life.

  25. I had my entire spine fused when i was 15…i had severe scoliosis and thoracic lordosis. The surgery improved my breathing however i now suffer disc problems and my back is curved again.

  26. Just had mine done 9 days ago. Have been home now for 6. Im 46 and suffered long enough to where I knew this was my last option. My main problem and concerned is the sharp pain going down my right leg. From my mid waistline down the back of my leg to the too of my foot. Very hard to sleep.

  27. I’ve had 4 fusions in my neck, and now I’m scheduling surgery for laminectomy fusion and facet joint bone grafting at L5. I was on chronic pain medication pre-op and ended up in cardiac arrest post op even after warning the nurse I thought it was going to o happen. I’m lucky she at least listened to me and put me on telemetry (I’m an RN). But I ended up with ptsd post op and now I’m freaking out going in for this surgery. I’m dropping my pain medication to about 60mg equivalents before this surgery. I’m in physical therapy and trying to build my core. I can’t get my aerobic activity up a]enough to lose any substantial weight but I’m hoping post op I can get it off. I’m about 50lbs overweight, and having axial Spondyloarthritis and osteoarthritis.

  28. I recently had the passing thought that "I wish my Dr. that performed this surgery realized what it feels like after it" after he yanked my PC along with my breakfast out from under me and told me to "come over here and eat while sitting down" (with absolutely no prior interaction with him). I do not wish an L4/L5 fusion on anybody, just the compassion and empathy of realizing that the morning after surgery may not be the best time to throw a mini tantrum over breakfast while my nerves were still quite excited and damaged from the operation and months preceding the surgery, as well as risking damage to my personal property. He is a great surgeon, but I hope if I ever have another surgery it is performed by someone like you who has dealt with it, however major or (hopefully) minor.

  29. For my laminectomy everything that could go wrong did go wrong. I started with no back pain but leg pain and ended up with leg pain and back pain. That 2-3 day hospital stay turned into two weeks. Got DVTs that went to my lungs with extensive pulmonary embolisms in both lungs. Six months later I am still on a walker and looking forward to another surgery. Finally, I can't talk to my surgeon since he died a week after surgery.

  30. I am receiving L5 S1 OLIF with Intervertebral Device through Retroperitoneal approach day 1. Day 2 is my L5 S1 Posteriolateral Lumbar Fusion with Decompression and Laminectomy. But, I am in the Army, 30 years old and want to still go to the Special Forces selection school and Drill Sergeant school. Would you know how that could be impacted with this surgery a few years from now. I am a very head strong and physically driven individual. I just really don't like slowing down. Just any advice for following my procedure to prepare for physically challenging events, would help. Thanks in advance.

  31. It actually fucked me up more my stomach hurts constantly and I weighed 90 lb at the age of 15 losing almost a hundred after my surgery and my back is not much better either constant itching feels like I'm stabbed every hour with a knife

  32. I had a limenectomy a little over a month ago. The pain I went in for was gone as soon as I woke up. However, I am having a lot of ache and discomfort where the surgery was done. I have been discharged by the surgeon as recovered. Is this kind of discomfort normal? Will it go away? It is no where as near as painful as what I went in for and the surgery did improve quality of life. Still this seems to be getting a little worse.

  33. I had disc surgery only 3 days ago. I accidentally bent over to pick up a paper towel off the floor. I am so scared I reherniated the disc after bending on day 3. How likely is it that I reherniated the disc? please I am really scared. I would be grateful for a doctor reply.

  34. Whilst nervously waiting for the date of my L5/S1 fusion I have always come back to this video. This Dr has offered his advice , not only as a surgeon but as a patient also! We thank you so very much!

  35. I had a lumbar laminectomy fusion l3l4 and l5 almost two years ago I still have pain and can't do the things I once did. I believe I need to adjust to my new normal and not expect to do what I did a couple of years ago. I say pace yourself and live your life. A new way. Good video doctor. Thank you for the information.

  36. My doctor did not use hospital to perform surgery he went to advanced surgical center after surgery once I was stable they put me on a wheelchair and send me home they did not give me no tools or anything that would help me heck even forgot to send my pain medication I did not have a good experience I go on YouTube to see other people's experience and it's way better than mine

  37. Doctor your a lucky man got surgery 2 times in 11 days never got rehab it took 2 years to fee
    L any way near normal it was terrible am still on pain injections and pain patch am old girl now tell you it made me tough so doctor so glad you are well

  38. It’s 7 months since I had disectomy. I still can’t walk well and I’m becoming to experience back and leg pain. What can I do. I’m so worried

  39. My daughter had a Posterior decompression and Spinal fusion surgery L5-S1 for pars fracture (Grade 1lytic spondylolisthesis ) 8 months ago. Then first 2 months she was fine. But from then on her back pain and leg pain started again. Last month, the doctor re-examined her, ordered for x ray, MRI and said that there was nothing wrong with the operation. But despite the passage of eight months, her pain is not diminishing. The doctor advised her to cycle , dance, swim, lift weights and she has to do Surya Namaskar exercise 50 times a day. The doctor told that If these are followed, the pain will decrease, otherwise it will not decrease. But she is not going to be able to do these things because she is suffering so much for back and leg pain all day long. She is not able to stand and sit for long time. Is it permissible to cycling, dancing, weightlifting, jumping, swimming and 12 steps of surya namaskar everyday after 8 months of spinal fusion and decompression of child? She has severe pain till now although all X Ray and MRI reports are ok. I would be benefited if someone gave me advice in this situation.

  40. My father had spine surgery operation 3yrs ago but still he can't move his 2 legs his half body is dead but his still okay and he hard to make his pee also we both his siblings lossing hope for his recovery 😭😭 I Let God for waht his plan for him .

  41. Just had surgery yesterday to remove a large disc from the l4 l5 area from my spine. So far I feel more in my leg but can't say if there is nerve damage or not yet. I would of had a fusion if it wasn't for the disc shrinking. For those considering from a herniated disc time can very well be your best friend! Hope this is a success I really had no choice and got lucky on that part.

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