Taking Care of an Ill Loved One

Some Physical Therapy Exercises You Might Do After Spine Surgery

Physical therapy is important to your recovery after spine surgery. The therapist takes into account the type of surgery you had and your medical condition to come up with a customized plan to help you heal as quickly as possible. While you have to start with gentle movements and increase your activity as your back strengthens, you'll generally be encouraged to move around frequently rather than be sedentary. Here are some of the activities your physical therapist may ask you to do. 

Short Walks

Depending on how well you recover from surgery, you may be asked to start walking by the next day. Even though the walks may be short and you might need help and support, it is important to get your body moving to prevent blood clots and other complications. You'll gradually increase the distance of your walks while you gain strength.

Stretching Exercises

Stretches are important after spine surgery because they help keep scar tissue at a minimum. When adhesions form, they can cause back pain and you want to avoid that if all possible. Your physical therapy sessions will probably include instruction and supervision on various leg and back stretches that work on the nerves along your spine.

Muscle Facilitation Exercises

These exercise muscles that support your spine. It's likely the muscles in your back became weak due to the back pain that limited your mobility. These muscles need to be strengthened and retrained to support your spine so you can prevent injuries after your surgery.

Back Stabilization Exercises

These exercises train your back to remain stable as you do other activities. You may be asked to exercise your arms and legs while your back remains in a stationary position. This strengthens your back muscles too so you can resume a normal active life without damaging your back.

Overall Muscle Conditioning

As you get stronger, you'll advance to working with weights and other equipment. This will improve your balance and muscle control. Muscle strength will stabilize and support your spine. Frequent movement will prevent scar formation and pain from pinched nerves. Although you may not feel much like exercising after surgery, it can help you recover faster and it may even help prevent future problems with your back. You may be asked to push yourself as hard as you can, but not to the point of pain. If your physical therapy treatments are ever painful, you should let your therapist know so your exercises can be adjusted.