Decompression - how to prepare/ what expect

So I have been told that I need decompression surgery. I’m in the uk so our good old nhs will be doing this.

What do I need to do to prepare? What will it be like just after, what are the best things to do during te pry.

Thanks in advance

Biggest plan is to set up others to care for you (meals, clean clothes and linens) and to take care of ANY other responsibilities that you have in your various life roles.
Timeline should be for a month while you gradually incorporate light activity with room to extend. While people do vary in their recovery times, it is a major surgery. Having to do laundry should not be setting your recovery back.

Before surgery, pay the bills and set up automatic. If at all possible set up your finances so that earning money does not determine any return to work plans you might have.

Read lots here but also know that people’s posts here tend to skew towards the more difficult recoveries. ask about the specifics

Good luck with the details and your fears around surgery.

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Thanks Gabby - very much appreciated. I had read some of the accounts of decompression surgery on here and it did put the fear of god in me. Would be good to read some good accounts.


Hi Doris! Not going to give a horror story! I just had decompression surgery on November 11. The worst part of my recovery was coming out of anesthesia and the first 36 hours. And as a side note, my body doesn’t tolerate anesthesia well, and I don’t like to take meds for ANYTHING.
Anyway, I spent 2 nights at the hospital. My first night home, I took 1 5mg Oxy and 1 4mg Zofran for nausea. I took nothing during the day, not even Tylenol or ibuprofen. The next 4 nights, I took a half of an Oxy and one of the Zofran. I spent most of my days in a recliner, watching TV, and did PT for balance 3 times a day. I was given a walker for almost a week, then a cane to use. I wasn’t allowed to lift more than 5 pounds. I was tired but not exhausted. After 10 days, I went for followup, where I was told I could go back to work and allowed to drive. I waited another week for work and driving. (I had my mother here to help me, and it was a short week anyway with Thanksgiving) I returned to work 18 days post surgery.

It hasn’t been all rainbows and butterflies. I’m tired, and as the numbing agents used are wearing off, I ache. I do wake up in some level of discomfort, but nothing I can’t tolerate. I am still slightly wobbly on my feet after standing for a length of time. Two weeks after surgery, I did have an episode where I almost passed out, but it might’ve been more stress related.

So here I am, a couple days short of 4 weeks, back to work, driving, cooking, and remembering to RELAX! The best advice my doctor gave me was to make sure I keep stretching my neck, so it doesn’t stiffen up.

I do recover quickly, and not everyone is the same. But there are some of us out there who bounce back fairly quickly with little discomfort. Hopefully you’re one!

Reach out again if you have any questions.


Hi I am in Ireland so not too different to the nhs. My decompression went well as did my recovery but still have a few issues. Balance not great and nauseous often however those terrible mind altering headaches have definitely been relieved. Take everyday as it comes and listen to your own body rest plenty and listen to your doctor. Wishing you well.

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Thanks all the replies, good to hear different accounts. This has put my mind at rest somewhat. Not sure when the decompression surgery will happen with the current circumstances.