Rehab Select Blog

7 Questions to Ask Your Spinal Surgery Therapist

Posted by Bobby Stephenson

Sep 28, 2022 8:00:00 AM

7 Questions to Ask Your Spinal Surgery Therapist

Following a well-designed physical therapy protocol is critical for facilitating recovery from back surgery. Many patients find that therapy in a post-surgical inpatient program leads to the best results. Inpatient rehab allows you access to a regular physical therapy regimen under close supervision where you’ll be supported in the tasks of daily living.  

But how do you choose the right physical therapist to help you reap the most benefit from the process and improve treatment outcomes? 

Here's a checklist of questions you should ask your spinal surgery therapist and tips to get the most out of your inpatient rehab experience. 


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7 Important Questions to Ask Your Spinal Surgery Therapist 

Ask these questions to understand a therapist's approach and see if their program fits your needs: 

  1. What's your experience in working with patients with my condition?
    Besides spinal surgery, consider other health conditions that may impact your recovery. 
  1. How will your physical therapy protocol help me recover from spinal surgery?

    Your therapist should establish checkpoints and milestones to ensure a safe recovery. 
  1. What methods will you use?

    Besides exercises, will your therapist incorporate massage, pain management, and injury prevention into the physical therapy protocol? 
  1. What do you expect me to do to get the most out of the sessions?

    Your active participation is key to accelerating the healing process. 
  1. How many times a week do I have to participate in a PT session?

    You should be able to commit to the recommended protocol to reap the most benefit. 
  1. How long will each session last?

    Knowing your weekly commitment can help you plan your daily activities around your recovery journey. 
  1. Do I have to exercise at home?

    After your stay at an inpatient rehab facility, your therapist may prescribe at-home exercises and massages between sessions, and you may need help performing them. 

8 Questions to Ask When Selecting an Inpatient Rehab Program to Recover from Spinal Surgery 

In many cases, your physical therapist will work with a team of other professionals in a facility to support your spinal rehabilitation journey. Here are some questions to help you find the right provider: 

  1. What's your facility's record in treating spinal surgery patients? 

  1. What type of technologies do you use to support recovery from back surgery? 

  1. Do you incorporate different treatment modalities (e.g., occupational therapy)? 

  1. Do you have medical professionals on staff? 

  1. Who will be on my care team? What are their experiences and qualifications? 

  1. Are the nurses certified in rehabilitation? 

  1. What's the caseload for the nursing and treatment staff?  

  1. Will the medical team help with discharge planning and follow-up care?



What to Expect from Your Spinal Surgery Physical Therapy Experience 

Most spinal surgery patients require an intensive rehabilitation schedule post-procedure. Your doctor will determine if a referral to an inpatient rehab facility is right for you. In these cases, your physician will ensure you can handle the demands of rehabilitation before you are cleared to start physical therapy.  

To help you restore function and perform daily activities independently, your therapist will assign various exercises to help you build strength and improve your range of motion. These movements will involve your entire body to improve overall health and prevent re-injuries.   

Your therapist may also incorporate other technologies to facilitate recovery and manage pain and swelling. These may include thermotherapy, electrotherapy, ultrasound, and heat and cold therapy. 

The timeframe for inpatient rehab will vary by individual. Your therapist and rehab staff will prepare you for discharge by showing you how to avoid re-injuries in your daily activities and providing home setup recommendations to help you live independently. 


How to Make the Most of Your Spinal Surgery Rehab Experience 

Your physical therapist is your ally and coach on your healing journey. They aim to help you return to your normal activities in the safest and fastest way possible, so be sure to follow their guidance to avoid re-injury. 

Educate yourself about spinal surgery rehabilitation and the role of physical therapy protocols to set yourself up for success. The treatment will require your active participation—you can't reap the most benefit if you aren't ready to commit time and attention to the process. 

Don't shy away from discomfort. While PT shouldn't feel like torture, it does come with some growing pains. Take the precautions and restrictions from your therapist seriously—they're designed to keep you safe. Ease into activities to avoid overexercising, and let your therapist know if you encounter any unusual sensations or symptoms.  

An experienced therapist doesn't just assign you a set of exercises. They also spend the time to get to know you and build rapport. Develop a trusting relationship with your therapist, which will help make the healing process more enjoyable and increase your motivation to exercise at home between sessions. 

Share your goals, challenges, and concerns with your therapist as the treatment progresses. While your physical therapy protocol provides a framework for your program, your therapist should personalize it based on your needs to achieve the best results.


Support Recovery from Back Surgery with a Holistic Approach 

Physical therapy is part of post-surgical orthopedic rehab to restore mobility and motor function, build strength, and support recovery from injuries affecting the muscles, bones, and joints—including injuries to the spinal column and spinal cord. Your care team will combine physical therapy protocols with other modalities, such as occupational therapy, to facilitate your healing journey. 

An orthopedic rehab program conducted under professional supervision at a reputable inpatient rehab facility is one of the best ways to accelerate your recovery from back surgery. It also provides technologically advanced care techniques, such as state-of-the-art electric nerve stimulation devices, to improve nerve responsivity in the spinal cord.  


Looking for Physical Therapy after Spinal Surgery in Alabama? 

Rehab Select offers post-surgical orthopedic rehab that incorporates a multi-disciplinary approach into a broad-based, integrated, and customized treatment plan to help shorten spinal surgery recovery while improving your treatment outcomes. Schedule a tour to see how we can be part of your healing journey. 


Recovery from back surgery in Alabama 

While safe recovery from back surgery can’t be rushed, there is a right and a wrong way to do it. Rehab Select’s post-surgical inpatient rehab is provided by a team of highly skilled professionals who will tailor a recovery plan to meet your specific needs. Choose from one of the five Alabama locations of Rehab Select as the place to ensure a safe and successful return to your workplace, family, and social life. Click here to schedule a meeting or tour today to see how we can help you on your journey of recovery.  

The Essential Guide to Spinal Rehab: Everything You Need to Know for a Successful Recovery

Topics: Spinal Rehab