How to exercise after spine surgery

adult-coupleYou’re starting to feel a little better now that you’ve had your minimally invasive spine surgery, and you’re itching to get back to living your life. But the truth is that you have to take it easy because you are still recovering from surgery. If you’re not careful during this time, you could re-injure your back.

There are some things that you can do, though, following your surgery to help you heal. These tips will help you recover at a steady pace:

  • Listen to your body. If a certain action or activity hurts, stop doing it immediately. After a few days, you can try again. The pain is your body’s way of telling you “not yet.”
  • Avoid extreme movements. During the first few weeks after your surgery, it’s important to not make any extreme movements. This includes extreme bending, twisting or stretching that causes pain.

When your physician or physical therapist OKs you to add activities back into your routine, it must be done at a gradual pace. It is imperative that before you add anything back into your life, to make sure you consult with your physician or physical therapist to ensure that you won’t injure yourself. Here are some ways to gradually introduce activity back into your life:

Pick an activity. Decide what activities you want to reincorporate into your life. It can be a daily activity such as laundry, washing dishes, or walking. You can also choose to add cardiovascular exercises such as walking, biking or swimming to your day. Regardless of what you choose, make sure your physician or physical therapist has approved your activity before you begin.

Find your baseline. Before you can start increasing how long you perform an activity, you have to determine your baseline — the amount of time you can do each task without causing pain.  For some things, this may be one minute, for others it may be 10 minutes. Determine your baseline and then you can work on gradually building up your endurance.

Plan your progression. After you’ve found your baseline, start by performing that same activity at that level for five days. After five days, try increasing your stamina a little bit. Once you’ve increased your activity slightly, wait 24 hours before performing it again to ensure there is no pain. Repeat this process until you reach your goals.

Set goals. When you begin gradually increasing your activity level, make sure you set attainable goals. We recommend that you work with your physician or physical therapist closely as you become more active.

If you’ve had surgery at Laser Spine Institute and have questions about your recovery, call the SPINE LINE at 866-977-7463. Our medical professionals are happy to answer your questions.

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