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Lumbar laminectomy

A lumbar laminectomy is a surgical procedure which involves relieving pressure on the spinal nerves by removing a section of bone (lamina) covering the back of the spinal canal. Degeneration or wear and tear, thickening of ligaments and bulging disks can lead to narrowing of the spinal canal. This is sometimes called spinal stenosis. If the nerves become trapped in the narrowed spinal canal this can result in pain and weakness in your legs.

Your surgeon will make an incision in the lower back to remove the bony arches in your spine to reduce your pain and weakness.

Lower back strengthening exercises supervised by PhysiotherapistAbove: Lower back strengthening exercises supervised by Physiotherapist

Physiotherapy before a lumbar laminectomy

Physiotherapy will teach you how to stay as active as possible to prepare your back for your surgery. Your physiotherapist may show you some simple exercises that target the muscles in your back and help relieve stiffness and tension and increase strength. Physiotherapy treatment will help you make a full recovery following your surgery.

Mobilisations of the vertebrea in the lower back by a physiotherapistAbove: Mobilisations of the vertebrea in the lower back by a physiotherapist

Symptoms following a lumbar laminectomy

Following your surgery you may experience some pain but this is normal. A physiotherapist will visit you shortly after your surgery to begin walking and show you a variety of simple exercises to help your circulation and to maintain a healthy airway. A few simple techniques will help reduce post-surgical pain. Your physiotherapist will also show you some ways to position yourself in sleeping and how to get in and out of bed to protect your back while your back is still healing. Movements such as getting out of bed and on and off the toilet may be difficult at first but your physiotherapist will provide you with some simple techniques to increase your safety and reduce your pain. When your physiotherapist is happy with your mobility you will be allowed to go home. This is usually between 3-5 days following your surgery.

Deep tissue massage of the lower back musclesAbove: Deep tissue massage of the lower back muscles

Physiotherapy following a lumbar laminectomy

At, our physiotherapists recognise that individuals have broad and often complex needs following a lumbar laminectomy that require individualised physiotherapy treatment. Our motivated physiotherapists at provide specialised physiotherapy treatment tailored to your individual requirements.

Physiotherapy treatment will help you make long term improvements in the activities you enjoy the most. The goals of physiotherapy following a lumbar laminectomy include:
  • Reducing pain and inflammation
  • Improving flexibility and core strength
  • Correcting posture and body movements to reduce strain on your back
  • Teach you how to manage your condition and control symptoms
  • Returning you to work and sporting activities safely

1-2 weeks

At, your rehabilitation will begin will gentle range of movement combined with ultrasound and hands on treatment to reduce pain and promote healing. Physiotherapy treatment at this stage will include:
  • Showing you ways to move safely and independently and how you can adopt this in your home environment
  • Improving posture when moving to increase safety and reduce risk of re-injury
  • Electrotherapy including ultrasound
  • Range of movement exercises for your ankles, legs and back.
  • Pain management
While your pain is settling and your back is healing your physiotherapist will advise you on the activities to be cautious of and those to continue to aid your recovery.

2-6 weeks

Your physiotherapist at will begin to progress your exercises at this stage of your rehabilitation. A structured exercise program will be developed between you and your physiotherapist so you are able to reach goals and your maximum physical potential. Physiotherapy at this stage may include:
  • Exercises to strengthen your quads, hamstrings and glutes
  • Activities to re-educate normal movement patterns
  • Stretching shortened structures and mobilising muscles and joints in order to restore full and correct range of movement.
  • Isometric strengthening abdominal exercises
  • Walking
  • Stationary cycling
  • Hydrotherapy
  • Advice about how to self manage activities of daily living
Physiotherapy treatment will monitor how your movement and muscle strength to make sure that you are safe returning to work and driving.

6-12 weeks

Your physiotherapist at will continue to progress your exercises at this stage to increase joint range of movement and to strengthen the muscles around your lower back, hips and legs. The exercises will be tailored to hobbies and lifestyle in order to promote return to the activities you enjoy. Physiotherapy treatment at this stage may include:
  • Strengthening muscles (i.e. deep abdominals, and the gluteal/buttock muscles) to stabilise the spine
  • Stretching
  • Progressing walking distance
  • Exercises based around your work or sporting life
  • Correcting and varying posture
Your physiotherapist may also suggest ways to correct posture in lying, sitting and standing to make sure you are comfortable at home or at work.

12+ weeks

At this point in your treatment the main focus will be to continue to improve your muscle strength, flexibility, endurance, posture and functional ability. Commitment to the treatment programme and the home exercises is important and will ensure that you make progress and reach your maximum physical potential.

At our specialised physiotherapists will guide and support you throughout your rehabilitation to improve your independence with everyday activities and hobbies and improve your quality of life.

For more information call now on 0330 088 7800 or to book an appointment please contact us.

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