In some instances, it’s used to treat chronic lower back pain that’s not associated with a specific disease or disorder.
Spinal fusion will change the way individuals move and places additional stress on the spine above and below the location of the surgery. Most people don’t think about their ability to bend, move and twist, but patients will need to make adaptations and learn new ways of sitting, standing, walking and moving following fusion surgery.
The extent of the changes will depend on the vertebrae that were fused. Physical therapy is essential and will be an ongoing process. The procedure addresses current needs, but without appropriate therapy, further degeneration and pain may occur in the future. Physical therapy provides techniques and advanced technology to address the range of changing needs that result from spinal fusion.
Movement and Prevention
Gentle exercise programs that include yoga and clinical Pilates are essential and effective for building strength, stability and endurance. At-home exercise programs keep patients mobile and ensure no progress is lost between clinic visits.
Our therapists provide guidance on new ways to move and accomplish tasks, along with instruction with a variety of mobility aids ranging from canes to motorized conveyances. They provide advice on ergonomic and environmental changes that can be made to reduce the risk of injuries and improve quality of life.
As patients recover, weight gain, sore muscles and depression may be considerations that can be alleviated with therapeutic massage. It’s beneficial before and after therapy sessions to loosen and prepare the body for exercise and to relax the body afterward. It aids in restorative sleep, elevates mood and helps with depression. Massage stimulates the immune system and circulation for healing.
Different therapies are used at specific junctures of recovery. We add more dynamic movements, low-impact aerobics for conditioning, and may incorporate aquatic therapy. There’s no need for patients to fear physical motion after spinal fusion. At Healing Touch PT, our physical therapists provide individuals with the right therapies to address their needs at every stage of their recovery and throughout their lifetime.
Dr. A Mathew MPT, DPT
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