Exercising after Lower Back Surgery

by Jean
(Canada)

I am a 48 yr old female who underwent Lower Back Surgery to repair a Herniated Disc at L5 S1 wich included a Discotomy & Laminectomy. I never recovered & have had several "salvage surgeries" as the 1st surgery caused scar tissue to grow & is slowly crushing my nerve root. Unfortunatly this has caused me to lose alot of muscle & gain weight & at times causes me to be bedridden for long periods of time. I would like to learn some exercises that can gradually allow me to build up some abdominal muscles to help strengthen my lower back and also what exercises i should not attempt.

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Azri's reply

Hello Jean, thank you for dropping by and I hope that you are on your road to recovery.

First of all, you need to ask your doctor for an all clear signal. I am not a surgeon and cannot advice you much as I do not know the complexities of your issue. But what I can do is provide some suggestions here and you can bring them to your doctor and see what is his opinions on them.

You mentioned that you are sometimes bed ridden, so perhaps you can start out just by doing some movements in bed.

Start out by clapping. It does sound silly but you need to start slow so that you don't overstress your body too much. Turn on some music and just clap along with the beat. Starting out with such exercises ensures that your body triggers its restorative processes so that you heal faster, and you start to build strength that can allow you to walk and do daily activities with a lot more ease.

Always consult your doctor to give him updates on your physical condition.

As your build up your strength, I think that it would be wise to do some simple leg movements. Lifting one leg for a couple of seconds would train your abdominals and back, and also ensures that your legs are not weakened from lack of use.

Doing a combination of such exercises can help build your strength and the goal would be for you to try walking a little bit every day.

Are you going for physiotherapy? This could be another alternative where a specialist can guide you through various compound exercises that can train your body, taking into consideration the surgery you had.

Do let me know if you want more input.

Thank you for stopping by Jean. You're in my prayers.

Take care of yourself.

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Aug 30, 2012
Pilates
by: Andrew

Hmm, I feel for you Jean. My girlfriend had a discectomy and only those who've gone through it, or have nursed those going through it, can even begin to understand how wholly debilitating it is to have something pushing onto your spinal nerve.

ANY movement was agony for my girlfriend. Needing to go to the toilet was total and utter hell.

If you get 'good periods' from time to time (where you can at least get out of bed), slowly working on core stability seems to be what most people advise. Pilates in particular. And you must start gently, easing into it, doing a fraction more each time. It's madness to launch into heavy exercise just because you're on a good day. The other key is to keep it up.

Keeping the weight off should help too. My girlfriend was definitely worse when she allowed the pounds to creep up. Exercise is good for that, of course, but exercise is impossible if you're in pain and the pain is worsened by the weight. Vicious cycle. So eating better, and less, to get the ball in motion might also help.

Eat less, eat better, lose a bit of weight, take the pressure off the nerve, very slowly and gently begin to do pilates, keep it up otherwise you risk going back to Square #1.

It's a great shame that people don't understand back pain properly or they're unsympathetic about it. Unfortunately, too main people with minor aches claim they have back problems, and complain to doctors, which makes it very difficult for people with real back problems.

All the best.

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