If I Have Surgery on My Spine Will I Ever Be Able to Play Sports Again?

If I Have Surgery on My Spine Will I Ever Be Able to Play Sports Again?
July 20, 2020

Contrary to many beliefs, having surgery on your spine does not mean you will not be able to participate in physical activities like sports. In fact, there have been multiple studies and testimonials that have shown that athletes who have had spine surgery were able to return to playing sports at the same level of competition they were used to prior to surgery.

How long will it take to return to sports after surgery?

Spine surgery is usually a last resort treatment option for people who experience chronic back pain. If surgery is necessary, the type of surgery you get is one factor that contributes to how long the recovery process is. Other factors that can contribute to recovery after spine surgery include a patient’s outlook and dedication to the recovery process. Having a positive outlook and dedicating yourself to the recovering from your surgery can be the reason why you get back to sports 3 months after surgery or 3 years after surgery.

RunnerTake spine surgery patient, Joe LaMotta, as an example. With a very active lifestyle, often enjoying running, hiking, wrestling, and basketball, there was no surprise that Joe’s neck pain would have such a major impact on his life. Unable to bear the pain, Joe underwent a total disc replacement procedure with Centinel Spine’s prodisc C. On top of a successful procedure, Joe’s perseverance and dedication to his recovery was the reason why he was 95% back to his usual exercise routine in just three months post-surgery.

Mountain ClimberMasson Spine Institutes resident neurosurgeon Dr. Robert L. Masson, M.D. is an internationally recognized neurosurgeon and also has personal experience with dealing with recovery after spinal reconstruction surgery. An avid athlete and adventurer, physical activity is an important part of his life and he dedicated himself to his recovery so that he could return to his active lifestyle. In doing so, he was able to return to his normal lifestyle and even reached a major milestone in his life and successfully climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro six months after surgery.

The surgeons not only play an important role in your ability to get back to playing sports after spine surgery, it is also you who must take the steps to help your body recover and get back to enjoying the things you love.

It is also important to remember that the time it takes to return to sports may depend on the activity itself. So, returning to a sport like golf may be quicker than returning to a sport that requires more physical contact or more physical movement.

What can I do to help get back to playing sports after surgery?

Dedication, positivity, and a successful spine procedure are all important in helping you get back to enjoying physical activities but some other items that can contribute can include:

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At Masson Spine Institute, when more conservative approaches fail to deliver the desired result, additional intervention in the form of surgery becomes a viable option. Surgery, however, is never the end all.

Properly performed, it can take you from a dead end, a road to nowhere, to a road to somewhere positive. But it’s just the beginning of the new road; it’s not the ultimate destination. There’s a new journey that begins post-surgery and that journey requires commitment to fitness, commitment to movement, commitment to nutrition and commitment to positive energy. The more fully a patient understands and realizes the importance of these personal commitments, the more likely his or her surgery will be a success.

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