Back Surgery Specialists in Orange County

Dr. Cheng,

Jason here in Fullerton. I went through low back surgery a year ago and I'm still having
pain in my low back with bending and prolonged walking. I can't bend very far and I
can't pick up objects off the floor. I used to get shooting pain down my legs but after my
back surgery, that's gone. I just wish I have more mobility and less pain. I thought my
back surgery was supposed to get rid of all that. What can I do?

                                                                                        Jason, Fullerton - Orange County


When you go through a lumbar fusion (back surgery), they fused a couple of bones
together so you'll lose range of motion in your back. What most people don't realize is that
back surgery takes a lot longer to heal than expected. Most of what I have seen is about a
year to two before you actually feel "normal" again. However, having said that, it doesn't
mean you have to be in excruciating pain everyday. There are a lot of things you can do for
your back to make it more comfortable.

One of the things we do is use acupressure to relax the deeper back muscles that you
can't get to through a regular massage. Once the muscles are relax, we work on the joints
that are not fused, putting them on slack to relax them and alleviate any tensions in there.
We then take you through a series of stabilizing exercises to help strengthen the back
muscles so you will feel more confident with bending over and walking.

We help back surgery patients all the time and it's amazing what the right treatment can do
for you. If you feel you would be more comfortable talking to one of us, please give us a call
and we'll be more than happy to go over all your questions.

Dr. Cheng, Anaheim - Orange County

Dr. Cheng,

I'm Yvonne from Orange. How long does it take to recover from back surgery? Can you
ever be normal again after back surgery?

                                                                                         Yvonne, Orange - Orange County


I get this question all the time. The truth is, everyone heals differently after surgery. I know it
sounds like a canned answer but unfortunately, it's the truth. You can have one person
heal in 3 months and another in 3 years, and both had the same surgery and the same

At Knight PT, we realize that everyone heals differently so we customize our therapy for
each patient, there's no canned treatment approach with us. We try to find the best
approach for you and tailor our protocols to help you recover in the least amount of time.
We don't put you on a hot pack, give you 5 exercises, hook you up to some electrical
stimulation machine and call it "therapy".

Back surgery is very complicated and serious. It should be treated with care and caution
because the wrong therapy can harm a perfect surgery. Give us a call if you have any
questions regarding your particular back surgery.

Dr. Cheng, Anaheim - Orange County

If you had back surgery and you live in Orange County, please give us a call so we can
help you get rid of your back pain. Knight Physical Therapy has 2 locations to serve you in
Orange County.  

Garden Grove office is only minutes away from Orange, Santa Ana, Westminster,
Huntington Beach, Fountain Valley, Los Alamitos, Tustin, Irvine, and most of Central
Orange County.

We specialize in helping patients get rid of chronic and acute pain after back surgery with
our unique treatment approach. We use a combination of acupressure, deep-tissue
massage, stretching, and stabilizing exercises to melt your back pain away.

Call today for an immediate appointment with one of our doctors.

Garden Grove 714-750-4097
Back Surgery - The Most Common Is Spinal Fusion - Orange County

There are two main types of lumbar spinal fusion, which may be used in conjunction with
each other:

Posterolateral fusion places the bone graft between the transverse processes in the back
of the spine. These vertebrae are then fixed in place with screws and/or wire through the
pedicles of each vertebra attaching to a metal rod on each side of the vertebrae.

Interbody fusion places the bone graft between the vertebra in the area usually occupied
by the intervertebral disc. In preparation for the spinal fusion, the disc is removed entirely.
A device may be placed between the vertebra to maintain spine alignment and disc height.
The intervertebral device may be made from either plastic or titanium. The fusion then
occurs between the endplates of the vertebrae. Using both types of fusion is known as
360-degree fusion. Fusion rates are higher with interbody fusion.

Two types of interbody fusion are:

Anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF)- an anterior abdominal incision is used to reach
the lumbar spine
Posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF) - a posterior incision is used to reach the lumbar

In most cases, the fusion is augmented by a process called fixation, meaning the
placement of metallic screws (pedicle screws often made from titanium), rods or plates,
or cages to stabilize the vertebra to facilitate bone fusion. The fusion process typically
takes 6-12 months after surgery. During in this time external bracing (orthotics) may be
required. External factors such as smoking, osteoporosis, certain medications, and heavy
activity can prolong or even prevent the fusion process. If fusion does not occur, patients
may require reoperation.

Some newer technologies are being introduced which avoid fusion and preserve spinal
motion. Such procedures, such as artificial disc replacement, are being offered as
alternatives to fusion, but have not yet been adopted on a widespread basis in the US.
Their advantage over fusion has not been well established. Minimally invasive techniques
have also been introduced to reduce complications and recovery time for lumbar spinal