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Spine, Spinal Surgery, Rehab, Surgery, Physio, Rehabilitation, Fusion, Dublin

Recovery from Spinal Surgery – How can Physiotherapy help?

Recovery from Spinal Surgery – How can Physiotherapy help?

We often look after patients who are recovering from spinal surgery. There are many types of surgery and interventions that a spinal specialist will use to optimise the recovery of the patient – ranging from discectomy to rhizotomy, and decompression to fusion – the terminology can be confusing. What all orthopaedic and spinal specialists recommend however is a targeted and specific rehabilitation plan with a physiotherapist.

In patient recovery

Most surgical interventions see the patient getting out of bed independently less than 24 hours post surgery. On the hospital ward the Physiotherapists and the Nursing team work together to encourage as much movement as is recommended. This can be surprising for patients who have been dealing with acute and/or chronic back pain for a long period prior to surgery. The surgical approach of our spinal specialists these days has become so refined and skilful that the in-patient recovery time has significantly shortened in recent years. This is a big benefit for all concerned.

Outpatient recovery

After the patient is discharged from hospital, they will be armed with a small advice leaflet to maintain an adequate baseline of activity  – and this suffices for the initial 7-10 days post discharge.

After this the outpatient recovery ought to take on a more dynamic aspect as the rehabilitation progresses. The passage of time and long rest periods will indeed help in terms of tissue healing times. However an overly passive approach to back rehabilitation is not advised.

Spinal surgery patients at Personal Health

We have had a large amount of patients manage their journey to recovery in Personal Health. Some choose the clinic simply because of location, others because they feel reassured that we have experience. Word of mouth seems to be a deciding factor for many, as they have heard good reports. However for those undecided we can provide some further information.

The journey to an active lifestyle once again

The most obvious reason for spinal surgery is excessive pain levels. Often the pain has become so debilitating for people that their day to day function is simply no longer possible. The journey to living an active lifestyle once again is a rewarding one, but it takes some determination and patience. If one has chosen to go down the path of surgical intervention, why not optimise the outcomes?

From Purgatory to Heaven

We have a varied and fun (believe it or not) approach to rehabilitation. It ought not to feel like penance, rather an opportunity to move from Purgatory to Heaven. We use strengthening exercises for the lower limb – thighs and gluteal muscles in particular. Similarly, we look to improve range of motion either above or below the surgical site. This can involve the whole spinal column, divided into its component parts of lumbar, thoracic and cervical. Also the small matter of re-training countless postural muscles can be less like homework than it sounds.

The body is designed to move

While inhibited movement is a natural part of recovery, it is important to reduce our inhibitions around natural movement. Even post surgically, the spine remains a column of strong bone, connective tissue and muscle. The body is designed to move and rediscovering the joys of this is a great feeling for people in their rehabilitation.

To Book an appointment at pH ; Visit us online at www.personalhealth.ie or call 01 4964002

Physiotherapy Services, Dublin 6

Jordi Murphy joins a very undesirable club – the ACL club

The ACL Club

Ireland’s incredible victory last Saturday came with a hefty price tag for one of the Warriors that ultimately slayed the New Zealand team. An ACL Injury.

I winced as I saw Jordi’s knee buckle. His attempt to chase down a quick line out throw by the Kiwis ended with a nasty rotation.

To the casual observer, this was an innocuous slip. In the world of sports medicine and Chartered Physiotherapy the alarm bells were ringing!

The pitch side medical team probably knew this was an ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) injury if they saw the mechanism of injury. Foot planted combined with an awkward rotation meant that the incredible force an athlete like Murphy can produce exceeded the ability of the ligament to withstand it.

Physiotherapy Dublin 6

Jordi Murphy feeling the intense pain from the knee ligament injury sustained on Sat evening

The ultimate effect is a tear of the ligament and effectively an unstable knee.

An image of the knee (from behind) with the knee ligaments still intact

An image of the knee (from behind) with the knee ligaments still intact

Ligament Tear

As the physios rushed on, they are probably asking Jordi for any tell tale signs to confirm what they intuitively know. Did you hear a pop (a nice way of asking have the bones in the knee smacked loudly together?) Where are you sore? – Normally everywhere!

So what’s happening in the initial few minutes of this injury in the majority of ACL injuries?

Extremely painful usually only for a few minutes. This is followed by a Large swelling as the knee joint fills with blood from the ligament tear.

There are some clinical tests that can be performed on the pitch in the first few minutes. These will assist a diagnosis and give the medical team a very good idea of the extent of the damage.

It’s highly likely that Jordi had rapid access to an MRI scan in the US – possibly in the Soldier Field stadium. This produces a superb image of the joint and will provide lots of information on any damage to other structures in the knee.

Jordi will need an ACL reconstruction. We’re fortunate in Ireland to have several outstanding knee surgeons to perform this work. That’s only the start of the journey. All good surgeons will emphasise to their patient that the rehab post surgery is crucial in a full recovery and return to sport.

Physiotherapy

The role of an experienced chartered physiotherapist becomes essential in the daily routine of recovery. Knowing what to do and when to do it is critical in protecting the repair and building strength in the surrounding knee muscles.

Jordi has a long road ahead of 9-12 months of hard work post surgery. He will do very well as everything is in his favour – age, background, fitness, attitude & motivation to name a few ingredients.

Like so many others before him – Conor McGregor, Peter O’Mahony, Luke Fitzgerald to name a few. Jordi is now a member of the dreaded ACL club. But he will bounce back like the others all managed so successfully.

Personal Health Physiotherapy, Dublin 6

Director of Physiotherapy – Ronan Fallon

 

For a Physiotherapy consultation with Personal Health’s Director of Physiotherapy, Ronan Fallon – Ring 01 4964002