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Ask the Expert: Dr. Anthony Virella, After spine surgery, when can I return to sports/fitness routines?

Contrary to what patients may fear, spinal surgery does not have to mean the end to a patient’s athletic career or fitness routine.  The athlete’s level of competition, overall fitness, the sport they play, as well as the surgery, all impact how soon an athlete can get back in the game.

backOne of the most progressive treatments is known as a Microdiscectomy and has become increasingly popular among athletes.  This Minimally Invasive Spine Procedure uses microsurgical tools and access ports to remove the herniated portions of the spinal disc and requires an incision of an inch or less.  The removal of the herniated portion of the disc alleviates the pressure on the spinal nerves that may be causing pain in the lower back, hips or legs.  This procedure is often performed on an outpatient basis with an expedited recovery plan.  In fact, only a Band-Aid is needed to cover the wound after surgery and patients can return to work after only 48 hours.

Physical therapy is an important tool in getting an athlete back to playing sports or doing fitness routines at the level they are accustomed to, and that will start just days after surgery. It is no secret that an athlete’s dedication to their post-operative rehab program has a direct correlation to how well they will perform when they return to competition. In other words, work hard to rehab your injury and you can return to your previous level or better.

Dr. Anthony Virella is a Board-Certified, Fellowship trained Neurological Spine Surgeon with advanced training in the management of complex spinal disorders. He attended medical school at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and is a graduate of the UCLA Neurosurgery Residency Program. Dr. Virella completed his complex 

dr. virella 4spine in-folding resident fellowship at the world renowned Cleveland Clinic Foundation with Dr. Edward C. Benzel, M.D. Additional work included a second fellowship in Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery at the UCLA Comprehensive Spine Center. Dr. Virella is a nationally recognized specialist in the field of complex and Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery and has offices located in Westlake Village, Simi Valley and Valencia.  Call us at 805.449.0088 to schedule an appointment in Valencia, Simi Valley or Westlake Village today.

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