Most patients who undergo cervical spine surgery can expect significant pain relief in the neck and associated areas, such as the shoulder and arm, states the University of Maryland Medical Center. A successful return to the activities of daily life is the measure of most neck surgeries.
Many patients experience immediate improvements following surgery, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Rehabilitation, which includes exercising and strengthening of the muscles and soft tissue that surround the cervical area, is a long-term endeavor that can take several months for full results. Although the exact time needed for full recovery varies between types of neck surgery, many patients require no more than one or two nights of hospital stay.
The first day following surgery requires the aid of a neck brace, which is to be worn in the manner instructed by the doctor for as long as is required, says the University of Maryland Medical Center. Nurses check the circulation and movement of the patient's extremities before the patient is given a list of gentle exercises to help strengthen the body. Sitting is encouraged within the first 24 hours, while standing and walking are generally limited to a gradual progression. Pain is to be expected for the first few days following the procedure and is managed through medication intravenously or orally.