Exercise for recovery
after spine surgery
Exercise is vital to getting better after spine surgery.
It is the key to eliminating fatigue, getting patients
back to activity safely, and avoiding re-injury. Ultimately,
exercise is critical both in helping the body heal from
the original injury and in preventing (or minimising)
future episodes of back pain.
A physiotherapist develops an individually tailored
exercise program based on knowledge of the exact type
of spine surgery, and the forces that are most beneficial
for the patients spine under different conditions.
Patients will typically learn the exercises with the
physiotherapist and then do them on their own at home.
There are many choices of exercise available for patients.
If a therapist and patient work together, they can find
alternatives that will greatly benefit the patients
physical condition and capability for resuming activities
to almost any level.
Patients often wonder if and when they can return to
certain activities after spine surgery. A lot of that
depends on how they respond to exercise and can prepare
the muscles to protect the spine during that activity.
The patient/ therapist team works well in this situation,
as the therapist has the opportunity to observe the
patients movement and force tolerances over time.
Education about exercise following spine surgery
With one-on-one physical therapy sessions, patients
have plenty of opportunity to ask questions of the therapist.
Therapists can explain exactly what changes have occurred
as a result of the patients specific surgery,
and what can be done to maximise the benefits from that
Many patients ask the same types of questions about
back surgery, so the therapist will usually have enough
knowledge to be able to answer most questions right
away. Often, if the therapist doesnt know the
answer to a question, he or she can speak with a spine
surgeon to get the answer. Most therapists will encourage
patients to ask as many questions as possible.
Any patients success in recovery from spine surgery
depends on his or her willingness to work hard at home
as well as with the therapist. Ideally, the surgery
will take the patient a great deal of the way on the
road to recovery, and then the patient and therapist
team can work together to make the recovery the best
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