What Is a Spinal Decompression Surgery Recovery Like?

What is a spinal decompression surgery recovery like?

Recovery after decompression surgery will depend on your fitness and level of activity prior to surgery. This is why a course of physiotherapy before the operation may be recommended.


Immediately after surgery, you’ll have some pain in and around the area where the operation was carried out. You’ll be given painkiller to ensure you’re comfortable and to help you move.


You’ll have stitches or staples to close any cuts or incisions made during your operation. Deep stitches beneath the skin will dissolve and don’t need to be removed.


Your medical team will want you to get up as soon as possible, usually from the day after the operation. This is because inactivity can increase your risk of developing a blood clot in the leg (DVT), and movement can speed up the recovery process.

Getting home

You’ll usually be able to go home about one to four days after your operation. How long you need to stay in hospital will depend on the specific type of surgery you had and your general health.


When you can go back to work will depend on how quickly you heal after surgery and the type of job you do.

Call the hospital where you had your operation, or your GP, for advice if:

  • there’s leaking fluid or redness at the site of your wound
  • your stitches come out
  • you can’t move your legs
  • you can’t control your bladder
  • you experience a sudden shortness of breath (this could be a sign of pulmonary embolism, pneumonia, or other heart and lung problems)
  • you have a high temperature (fever) of 38C (100.4F) or above
  • you have increasing pain, numbness or weakness in your legs, back or buttocks
  • you have a severe headache

Keyword: spinal decompression surgery recovery

* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.