Instructions after Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (PLIF) Surgery


You may shower on third day following surgery. Try to limit showers to no more than 5–7 minutes. Do not scrub the wound. Let water run over the incision, then pat dry with clean towel. Do not soak in a bathtub, hot tub or pool for at least 2 weeks.


If a brace (lumbar belt) is prescribed, it should be worn at all times except while showering and should be replaced immediately thereafter. 


A physiotherapist will guide you and will define a rehabilitation programme specifically for you, below are general recommendations:

  • Avoid bending at the waist, lifting (more than 2 kg), and twisting in the early postoperative period (first 2-4 weeks) to avoid a strain injury. You can gradually begin to bend, twist, and lift after 4-6 weeks as the pain subsides and the back muscles get stronger.
  • Bending at the hips and knees into a hip-hinge position is acceptable as long as your back remains straight.
  • Do not sit for periods longer than 20-30 minutes. You may increase this time as you become more comfortable.
  • Walking is the best form of exercise after spinal fusion surgery. The amount of time you spend walking each day should be slowly and steadily increased. You should be walking approximately 1,5 km per day within 1 month of surgery. No running is permitted for the first 2 months.
  • Stairs are good for you, but take it slow.
  • Avoid prolonged long car rides (more than 2 hours) for 2–4 weeks.
  • Avoid any activity that presents the potential of falling or any physical contact (ex: sports, playing with children).


Driving is acceptable approximately 2 weeks after surgery depending on the use of pain medication. We recommend that you not drive while taking pain medications following the surgery.


Smoking slows down spinal fusion healing.


(such as ibuprofen, naproxen, meloxicam, diclofenac, etc.) for three months following your surgery. This type of medication has been shown to interfere with spinal fusion healing.