Spinal fusion is an operation in which two or more vertebrae are permanently joined together. This is essentially a “welding” process, where the vertebrae are fused together so as that they heal into a single, solid bone. This can eliminate pain and restore stability to the spine.
Your doctor will typically only recommend spine surgery when they can pinpoint the exact source of your pain. To do this they may do an x-ray, CT scans, or MRI scans. Spinal fusion may help to relieve a variety of symptoms and many back problems. These include;
- Degenerative disc disease
- Herniated disk
- Fractured vertebra
- Spinal stenosis
Spinal fusion is an option when motion is the source of pain, as the procedure eliminates motion between vertebrae, and prevents the stretching of nerves and surrounding tissue. The theory is, if the painful vertebrae don’t move, they should not hurt.
Fusion will take away some of your spinal flexibility, but since most spinal fusions only involve small segments of the spine, it will not limit your motion too much. Patients often will not notice any decrease in their range of motion.
The fusion process takes time, and while your comfort level will increase, it may be several months before the bone is solid. During the healing time, the fused spine must be kept in proper alignment. Your physical therapist will instruct you on how to move properly, reposition, sit, stand, and walk.
Over time, your symptoms will improve with your activity level. As you regain strength, you will be able to slowly increase your activity level. Physical therapy typically begins anywhere from 6 weeks to 3 months after your surgery.
If you suffer from back pain or are looking for more information, Atlantic Physical Therapy can help! Their highly qualified physical therapists can conduct an evaluation of your symptoms and match you with the treatment that you need. Contact the experts at Atlantic Physical Therapy to schedule an appointment.