Why You Shouldn’t Rush Back After Spine Injury or Surgery

Category: Spine Surgery | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: July 26, 2016


rushing back after spine surgery

Nobody likes to miss out on a sports game, school or work because of an injury, but the fact of the matter is that it’s almost always better to play it safe than to return too quickly after an injury. This is especially true for two injuries – injuries to your spine and injuries to your brain. Sure, re-rolling your tender ankle will hurt, but returning too early from a spine or head injury can have lifelong consequences. Returning from a spine injury too quickly can be problematic for a number of reasons. Here’s why:


If you return to activity too soon after an injury, you’re risking aggravation and even more time on the sidelines. As we mentioned in yesterday’s blog about spine injuries in major league baseball, Clayton Kershaw was just shut down by the Dodgers because he “didn’t feel right” during a simulated game. He may not have totally reaggravated the injury, but it’s clear that he didn’t do his body any favors by trying to return as quickly as possible. It’s better to miss a week of activity than to try to return, re-injure your spine, and miss the rest of the season.

Lifelong Consequences

As we mentioned above, trying to push through a spine injury can have lifelong or serious consequences. For example, let’s say you have a disc herniation which needs a discectomy or removal of some of the disc, you have surgery and it feels better, so you return to work quickly and re-herniate the same disc, this may require more surgery and more time away from your sport or job. To many herniations of disc material at the same level may require more surgery such as a fusion.

Spine Stability Is Critical

Your spine acts as a natural cushion and a central player in nearly every movement you make. If you try to return to work or athletic activity before your spine is ready, you’re forcing other parts of your body to compensate for your weakened spine. This adds pressure to the joints in the knees and hips, which can lead to a different injury, like an ACL tear.

You Are Better At Your Best

If you are only able to run at half speed or you can’t lift anything, you may actually be a detriment to your team or at the work site. There are plenty of other ways to contribute to the team or at your job without doing all the physical tasks it typically requires. Wait until your spine is fully healthy before jumping back in the game.

It can be hard to know when it’s safe to return to activity after a spine injury, but thankfully you have two key resources; your doctor and your body. Listen to them both and take it slow, and odds are you’ll have a successful recovery after a spine injury or surgery.

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