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What Will I Be Able to Do a Couple of Weeks after Microdiscectomy Surgery?


As you recover from spine surgery, you should aim to find a suitable balance between an increased activity level and appropriate precautions. This applies to any type of spine-related procedure, including a discectomy, a commonly performed procedure done to remove disc material affecting nearby nerves. Below, we discuss what you'll likely be able to do a few weeks after a discectomy and what else to keep in mind during your initial recovery period.

Lighter Activities

Initially, it's a good idea to rest and give your spine time to heal. However, as you get around the two-week point after your microdiscectomy, it's more beneficial to get back to lighter activities. This is what stimulates and strengthens soft tissues around your spine, easing stress on the surgery area and the rest of your spine. Lighter activities also promote tissue healing and get more nutrient-rich blood circulating to the affected area. As for what kind of activities fit into this category, this list typically includes:

• Walking around your home and neighborhood
• Light dusting and similar household tasks
• Lighter kitchen-related activities

Low-Impact Exercises

Walking can also be a safe and gentle form of exercise you can do a few weeks post-discectomy. This is around the time when there's usually a shift to low-impact options like gentle stretches and therapeutic exercises. While you're still under the six-month mark after a microdiscectomy, stick with what your physical therapist or similar professional recommends. Check with your doctor or surgeon before adding any new exercises to your routine during this time frame.


The nature of your job largely determines when you can get back to work after spinal disc surgery. If you have a desk job or one that involves minimal strain and less physically demanding duties, you may be able to get back to work a few weeks after a discectomy. However, if your job is more strenuous or involves repetitive movements, you may be advised to wait. If possible, you may prefer to start with a half-day schedule before getting back to your normal work routine. Also with work, get up and move periodically if you sit for longer periods to minimize excess stress in the affected area.


Typically, it's possible for microdiscectomy patients to resume driving a few weeks after surgery. Whether or not this is possible for you depends on factors such as how well your pain is managed at this point. Your reliance on post-surgery pain relievers is also considered, since some of these medications could affect driving abilities.

What to Avoid

A few weeks after surgery, you're still susceptible to reinjury. To keep your healing spine on the road to recovery, find a happy medium between stepping up your activity level and preventing reinjury by avoiding certain movements and activities. The main ones include:

• Excessive reaching and twisting
• Contact sports
• Strenuous workouts, especially anything that puts pressure on the lower back
• Heavy lifting

Back surgery recovery time varies among individuals and depends on factors such as whether the patient has a large hole in the outer ring of the disc after surgery. If the hole in the disc is larger than a standard pencil eraser, the patient has a significant risk of experiencing a reherniation. Patients with a large hole in the outer ring of the disc are more than twice as likely to reherniate after surgery. These reherniations often require additional surgery or even a larger spinal fusion operation. Barricaid is a bone-anchored device shown to reduce reherniations by closing the hole in the disc after a discectomy, and 95 percent of Barricaid patients didn’t undergo a reoperation due to reherniation in a 2-year study timeframe. This treatment is done immediately following the discectomy—during the same operation—and doesn’t require any additional incisions or time in the hospital. 

If you have any questions about the Barricaid treatment or how to get access to Barricaid, you may ask your doctor or contact us at 844-288-7474.

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