Activity Restrictions After Back Surgery

by Tim

in Back Problems, Fitness, Pain, Surgery

Depending on exactly what type of back surgery you may have had, you may be facing activity restrictions after back surgery in order to reduce pain and to prevent you from injuring yourself again. The exact restrictions and their duration will be rather variable, so you will need to discuss any concerns that you have with your doctor and physical therapist in order to ensure that you are doing the right things. However, in the interest of education, you can probably expect the following activity restrictions after back surgery.

Most of these restrictions are going to come under the heading of, “maintain spinal precautions,” and could be considered to be common sense restrictions. It basically means that you should not do any serious bending, twisting, heavy lifting, or any activity that places strain on your back. Recovering from back surgery is difficult for your body; you want to be sure to not do anything that may inhibit those efforts.

This does not mean that you will not be able to exercise at all. After all, exercise promotes fitness and good health, and the proper level of activity can help provide a boost to the healing process. While you clearly will not be able to do much in the initial weeks, possibly months, following your back surgery, the activity restrictions after back surgery slowly loosen up as you heal and your back strengthens.

Activity Restrictions After Back Surgery

Photo Credit: Jana Kollarova

At first, you will be able to do low-intensity exercises that do not put a great deal of strain on your back. Swimming is the best exercise to do following back surgery because the water helps to support your body weight and takes some of the strain off of your back. Walking is another great choice when you reach this stage. It keeps you active and is unlikely to place too much of a strain on your healing back. In time, once you have fully healed, your doctor will release you to resume your normal daily activities and exercises. Depending on your exact circumstances, this may take anywhere from a few months to a year or more. Again, do not engage in any activities without the permission of your doctor.

Activity restrictions after back surgery are put into place to protect you from harming yourself and preventing your back from healing properly. If you have any concerns about what you can and cannot do during your back surgery recovery period, be sure to contact your doctor or physical therapist, especially if the activity in question is strenuous or outside the recommendations they have already given you. If your lifestyle or job requires significant physical effort, what exactly you should expect to be able to do and not do should be one of the first questions to ask before back surgery.  If returning to work after back surgery is not an option, knowing ahead of time can give you extra time to plan.

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