The process of back surgery recovery, though often long, should include a consistent exercising and stretching routine for an effective, safe and fast recovery. The benefits from exercising far outweigh the rigor of the programs. And the consequences of not exercising are even more costly.
At the Southeastern Spine Institute (SSI), you’ll meet your physical therapists right on the same campus where you underwent your procedure. They work closely with your spinal physicians to ensure you get the proper exercise regimen for a safe recovery.
Importance of Exercise
Exercise and physical therapy help you heal faster after undergoing any kind of back surgery. Limited motion from the surgery can create a physical handicap if you don’t participate in any sort of exercise or physical therapy to aid the healing process. For a faster healing time, you absolutely have to start (and continue) an exercise program in your back surgery recovery process.
Conditioning and strengthening your back are both lasting results of proper physical therapy techniques and day-to-day exercise. The physical therapists at SSI plan step-by-step approaches targeted to your needs. You’ll leave with instructions for continued safe exercises to help you avoid further back pain. And hopefully they’ll help you avoid any more surgeries!
Safe and Easy Exercises
There are a variety of different kinds of back surgeries that you could have undergone, but no matter the surgery, the following exercises all work to aid you in your back surgery recovery. Make sure to consult your surgeon or physical therapist before performing these exercises to ensure your safety.
For the most part, these are relatively easy practices that can still give you big results:
- Abdominal Draw-In. Lie on your back, relax your arms by your side, bend your knees and place your feet flat on the ground. Tighten your abdominal muscles — flattening your lower back to the ground — and hold this position for a few seconds. Then slowly lift one foot and place it back down, as if you’re marching. After the “marching,” proceed to bring one knee as close to your chest as possible, hold it for a few seconds, then lower it back down.
- Bridges. Lie on your back with knees bent and feet resting on the floor with your arms comfortably by your sides. Lift your hips off the ground until your body straightens out. Hold the position for a few seconds then lower your hips back down to the ground. Repeat this about 10 times.
- Planks. Lie on your stomach, face down, and keeping your body straight; lift it up off the ground and support your weight with your elbows and toes. Hold this position for as long as you can without letting your hips drop. Continue to add more time until you can hold the plank position for one to two minutes.
Practice these exercises consistently and keep up a routine for yourself to improve your easier back surgery recovery.
Consequences of Not Exercising
After your surgery, the muscles in your back become weak and limit movement. Without the strengthening and conditioning from exercise, you may put yourself into the position of a failed back surgery. Lack of movement — not following the instructions of your physical therapists post-surgery — results in a slow and painful back surgery recovery and may damage or handicap you.
While the old adage of “no pain, no gain” has been debunked by exercise specialists in recent years, you’ll most likely experience some discomfort when you begin your exercises after surgery. But back surgery recovery doesn’t have to be painful if you take it slow, listen to the experts and let them know when it hurts.