Returning to regular activities after scoliosis surgery

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Following scoliosis surgery there are things that your teen should avoid to ensure proper healing. Find out what these are, and why they are restricted.

Key points

  • After surgery, your teen should avoid smoking, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and massages or chiropractic treatment.

For the first six weeks after surgery, your teen should not bend forward or lift. Everyday activities such as dressing, bathing, and walking are encouraged. They should not play any sports or do other physical activities during this time.

Your teen will not need a physiotherapist or any special exercise following their surgery.

At your teen’s six-week appointment, check with their surgeon to find out what activities they can start doing. This varies from surgeon to surgeon. In general, your teen will be back to their regular activities and sports in one year.

Things to avoid

After having spine surgery, your teen should avoid smoking and second-hand smoke. Smoke will keep the bones in their spine from healing properly.

If your teen needs to take medication for any kind of pain, such as a headache, menstrual cramps, muscle strain, or back pain, they should avoid non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). NSAIDs are a group of pain medications, and they include ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and Aspirin. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is safe; it is not an NSAID. If you aren’t sure about a medication, check with your pharmacist.

Your teen should avoid having a massage or chiropractic treatment after surgery. These types of services may damage your teen’s bones when they are healing. If unsure about any alternative therapy, ask your surgeon.

Last updated: June 1st 2008