Surgery is by no means certain to relieve the patient’s symptoms. In a great number of cases, preventing the symptoms from getting worse is the best result that can be achieved. It appears that damage to the spinal cord cannot be undone.
Tips from a physiotherapist
Following the operation, the wound at the back of the patient’s neck is likely to be painful. The patient’s follow-up appointments will be with a physiotherapist, who will provide some useful tips to help the patient load his back and make a full recovery while the patient is still at Bergman Clinics' Back and Neck Centre. Typically, patients are able to walk again the day after their operation. They are free to go home, then, depending on the size of their wound. Rehabilitation therapy will only be necessary in the event of severely impaired walking.
Two weeks after the operation, the patient will be called for a phone check-up during which his or her current condition will be discussed. Generally, the patient will be told on this occasion that s/he is allowed to resume normal activities and increase the load on his or her back. If the patient is already experiencing a clear improvement, no further steps will have to be taken at this point.
Resuming exercise and returning to work
The patient will be allowed to undergo supervised physiotherapy upon his or her discharge from the clinic if s/he is in a poor physical condition or afraid to start moving again. Embarking on an intensive neck muscle training programme soon after the operation is not recommended, as the neck muscles will not have full pulling force for the first 3 to 6 months following surgery. The duration of the post-operative recovery period differs from patient to patient. Whether or not a patient is allowed to return to work soon after an operation obviously depends on the nature of the person’s duties. Patients should always listen to their bodies and take a break whenever their bodies tell them they have had enough.