An injury in the back can literally send chills down the spine of every active athlete. What scares them, even more, is the myth that back surgery in the spine surgery hospitals can bring curtains to their promising sports career. However, this misconception has been debunked by many Olympic and professional level athletes who have staged their comeback following many common types of back surgery. They rarely have their performance affected in regards to overall fitness. Therefore, one should not get discouraged from the prospect of back surgery keep them from returning to your former sports routine. This requires a team approach with the patient who is guided through the entire procedure by the surgeon and physical therapist. By and large, there are three common back surgeries which are conducted:
Lumbar microdiscectomy- A common spine surgical procedure, it is executed to treat symptomatic herniated discs. But there are also a certain section of patients with herniated discs who do not necessarily need back surgery. They can recover with conservative treatment. But if the conventional methods like physical therapy, rest, medications then the spine surgery hospitals may recommend removal of the disc herniation. Post-surgery, a patient can start with mild walking as an exercise. Physical therapy is very important which is why the surgeons start the procedure around three weeks after surgery. Studies show that if an athlete is dedicated in the entire post-operative rehab program, it can have a significant impact on returning to the pre-injury level of competition.
Lumbar decompression for stenosis- Decompression surgery can even bring back those athletes to action that are having a rough patch or are aging. The effects of lumbar decompression is so encouraging that the athletes with degenerative spine conditions such as stenosis can also get back to sports after decompression surgery. Spinal stenosis is an abnormal narrowing of the spinal canal, which restricts the spinal cord and may cause pain, numbness and sometimes weakness. Following decompression surgery, it is advised you stay away from the activities such as heavy lifting for at least six weeks. As for returning to cardiovascular conditioning, it can be done after three to four weeks. The physical therapy can also start about one month after surgery. As the progress chart gets up, the athletes can expect a return at three to six months.
Lumbar fusion- Though lumbar fusion is done for a lot of spinal fusion, it is most commonly done for spinal instability. The recovery of bone is of prime concern and hence the return to sport after fusion is a slower process. Ideally, physical therapy is commenced at three months. Some of the considerations that determine the time for an athlete to mark a return are athlete's age the sport, and the level of competition. For instance, a snooker player may be declared fit to return after six months of surgery. However, an athlete involved in contact sports may require more time as the recovery, in this case, is a slower process but is favorable with successful fusion.