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Spinal Decompression Surgery
If you have made a decision with your surgeon to have a spinal decompression, understand that surgery is just the first step. A structured rehab program is essential to getting the most out of your surgery. A rehab program restores your mobility and strength while helping with your recovery. At Polygon PT, a physical therapist will help you prepare for surgery, and recovery after surgery. Contact a therapist today to get started.
What is Spinal decompression surgery?
Spinal decompression surgery is a procedure used to treat compressed nerves in the spine. Compression of spinal nerves can occur anywhere along the spine. This is caused by several factors, of which spinal stenosis is most common. Spinal stenosis is of the bony canals through which the nerves and the spinal cord pass. Spinal decompression can be done anywhere along the spine from the neck to the lower back. The goal of decompression surgery is to open the bony canals through which the spinal cord and nerves pass, to create more space for free movement. Spinal decompression is only recommended where other non-surgical treatments have failed to relieve pain.
Why do I need Spinal decompression surgery?
Spinal stenosis isn’t the only reason for decompression surgery. Other spinal problems might warrant spinal decompression surgery. They include:

Slipped disk and sciatica

where a damaged spinal disk presses down on an underlying nerve

Spinal injuries

fractures or swollen tissues can be treated with decompression surgery

Metastatic spinal cord compression

This is where cancer in one part of the body may spread into the spine and putting pressure on the spinal nerves

What are the Types of Spinal Decompression Surgery?
When you and your surgeon have agreed to decompression surgery, one or more of the following will be performed.


This is where a section of bone is removed from one of the vertebrae (spinal bone) to relieve pressure on the affected nerve


In this procedure, a portion of the damaged disk is removed to relieve pressure on the affected spinal nerve


This is the removal of the bone around the canal (neural foramen) where the nerve root exits the spine


This is expanding the spinal canal, by the neck region to relieve nerve compression.

Spinal Fusion
Spinal fusion is used to join two or more vertebrae (spinal bones) together. The bones are fused using screws, which are then connected by rods and bone grafts. The aim of the surgery is to prevent movement between the involved spinal bones and to realign the spinal column, thereby reducing pain. Usually, during decompression surgery, spinal fusion may be done alongside to stabilize a joint.
Is Spinal decompression Right for me?
You may be an ideal candidate for spinal decompression if you have:
What Happens Before and During Surgery?
Presurgical tests may need to be done several days before surgery. Examples are blood tests, and X-rays. If you have been taking medications for your pian, inform your doctor. You may need to stop taking some medication before surgery. Your doctor will tell you the medications to stop taking. You also have to stop taking nicotine or alcohol at least a week before surgery as this could cause excessive bleeding. You will be given anesthesia to keep you sedated or asleep during the procedure. Your doctor will discuss the risks with you. The procedure itself will take 1-3 hours. An incision will be made in your back over the affected vertebrae, and the spiel cord and nerve will be decompressed. A spinal fusion may also be done alongside.
Recovery for Spinal Decompression Surgery
Post-operative rehab begins at least 24 hours after surgery. Your therapist will want to get you moving as soon as possible. If you had a spinal fusion, you may need to wear a brace. You will be discharged from the hospital in a day or 2 after surgery. Your therapist will create a rehab program for you. This will include gentle exercise at the beginning to prevent spine stiffness. As the spine fuses and heals, strengthening, motion and endurance exercise will begin. Your rehab program will continue until you have recovered completely.
Get started with Rehabilitation for Spinal Decompression Surgery Today
Rehabilitation after surgery is needed to get the most out of surgery. It not only restores strength, motion, and flexibility but also ensures complete recovery in no time. Request an appointment with one of our physical therapists to get started.