So you have just come out of the surgery room, and you want your back to feel better and recover. Are there specific exercises that will help you in the recovery journey? These might be some of the questions running through your mind right now.
Do not worry because you are not alone, as research shows that almost 500,000 Americans go for this procedure every year. Recovering from spine injury should be a process. Do not expect to get back to the pre-surgery activities the moment you come out of the operation room. The following are some of the exercises that will help you recover:
It is one of those exercises that will help increase blood flow to various parts of your body. Your spinal muscles need nutrients and oxygen for the optimal healing process. Your cardiovascular health, especially the heart and lungs, also benefit a lot when you walk right after back surgery. Walking helps your spine get back in shape as you assume an upright position.
Your discs are thus protected from other problems that are likely to crop up in the future. But, how do you get started without hurting your back? Your physician can help draft a workout program that suits your needs.
After walking, you can now go to the next level; running. It may sound easy on paper but getting it done is the hardest part. Getting insights from experts such as Dr. Joshua Rovner on your chances to run after spinal fusion surgery can help you develop a plan that suits your needs. You must learn how to walk before you start to run again. Start slow and then grow as time goes by. Your doctor will give you a range of the miles you should cover in a day and increase gradually.
Stabilize your back with a Swiss ball
It is a good approach, but you should ensure that the abdominal muscles remain contracted during the entire process. The intensity of the exercises rises as the distance between your body and the ball increases. You can do these exercises while: lying on the floor, sitting on the ball, standing, or lying on the ball.
Sitting on the ball
- Sit on the ball. The hips and knees bent at 90% while the feet rest on the floor.
- Raise your arm of the head and lower arm: alternate right and left sides.
- Raise and lower your heel slowly. Alternate left and right sides.
- Raise one heel and then raise the opposite arm over your head.
- Raise one leg for about 2 inches from the floor: alternate left and right sides.
Lying on the floor
Lie on your back and let your calves and knees rest on the ball
Raise your arm slowly over the head and lower arm. Alternate left and right sides
Straighten one knee and relax. You can then alternate from left to right side.
Straighten one knee, raise the opposite arm over the head—alternate opposite legs and arms.
Move the ball back and forth with your legs.
- Stand and then place the ball between the wall and your lower back.
- Bend your knees slowly between 45-90 degrees, hold for 5 seconds and then straighten.
- Bend your knees 45-90% slowly. Raise both arms over your head.
Lie on the ball
- Let your stomach lie on the ball.
- Raise alternate arms over your head.
- Raise alternate legs slowly, 2 to 4 inches from the floor.
- Combine steps 1 and 2 and alternate opposite legs and arms.
- Bend one knee and lift the left leg up. You can then alternate the process on different legs.
- Roll on the ball until it is slightly below your legs and reverse to the starting position.
- You can roll the ball again and do some push-ups.
Supine Lumbar Flexion
Stretching your low-back muscles is very beneficial after back surgery. Flexion muscle exercises come in very handy when you want to stretch the treated or scar tissue in the lower back, right after surgical incision. Follow these steps to attain supine lumbar flexion:
- Lie on your back.
- Bend your knees.
- Lift these knees towards your chest and grab them with both hands.
- Pull your knees towards your chest gently and hold in this position for at least 2 seconds.
- Lower your knees back to the starting position slowly.
- Repeat the process up to 10 times.
However, you should stop this exercise when you note an increase in pain in your legs, buttocks, or lower back.
Mistakes to avoid after back surgery
Don’t overdo exercises
There should be a limit to the time you dedicate to the routine you choose. For instance, you can’t expect to cover the same distance as a healthy person when you start jogging. Listen to your body and know when to stop. Being aggressive will not increase your healing rate, but you may end up with injuries.
Don’t ignore the experts
The back muscles are very delicate, and they should thus be handled with care. Your doctor is the best-placed person to guide you during the recovery journey. If your doctor recommends that you not drive for a few weeks after the surgery, heed this advice. Do not shy away from contacting your doctor when you are in pain.
Expecting things to get back to normal instantly
It is everyone’s dream to have a healthy body. However, this is not always the case. Healing takes time, and it is even harder when it is surgery. Do not expect to get back to lifting heavy objects the moment you get that surgery. Give your system enough time to heal and rest and trust the process.
The approach you will take will depend on the type of surgery you had, the extent of damage, and the type of work you do. The above activities help you regain the lumbar range of motion, core strength, and improved hip.
You may require ergonomic evaluation to determine if you can engage in heavy lifting or not. A physical therapist will be essential if you want to know if you can resume your normal activities after surgery.