Category: Surgery Recovery | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: February 4, 2019
We don’t realize just how often we twist, turn, and torque our spines until we’ve been told that we need to be careful with our movements. The days and weeks following spine surgery are times when you need to be especially cognizant of how you’re moving your spine because it’s in a weakened state following your operation, and one wrong move can jeopardize the integrity of your surgery. Below, we share some tips for bending and twisting while you’re recovering from spine surgery.
Moving After Back Surgery
Regardless of whether you underwent a minimally invasive spinal procedure or a more invasive open operation, your spine is going to be in a weakened state while it focuses on recovering. If you put too much stress on your spine, you can injure recovering structures or cause implanted hardware to shift or break. That’s why you need to be cognizant of how you bend and move after an operation. Although every procedure is different and you should rely on the advice of your treating surgeon, here are some general tips for not worsening your spine when bending following spine surgery:
- Bend at the knees – If you need to bend over to pick something up off the floor, make sure you are bending with your knees and not at the waist with your spine. This helps to ensure stress is channeled through your lower body and not your injured back. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart, bend at the knees and slowly lower yourself while keeping your spine straight and upright.
- Use a chair for socks and shoes – If you need to put on socks or shoes, don’t bend at the waist to aid in the process. Instead, sit on the side of your bed or in a nearby chair so that you can bring your feet up to you without straining your spine. You can also lay down on your bed to help put on socks or shoes, as this can help keep stress off of your spine.
- Pivot, don’t twist – Twisting is also an action that can cause pain after a spine surgery, so try to get in the habit of moving your entire body instead of twisting your spine. Rotate your feet and point your whole body in the direction you want to go instead of twisting at the spine. It may take a little getting used to, but it will help protect your spine after an operation.
- Posture care – Try to be more cognizant of your posture while you’re recovering from spine surgery. Try not to slouch in your chair or lean your head forward to check your phone. Keep your head directly above your shoulders and make sure your spine remains upright when seated. Poor posture can slow down blood flow to the spine, and healthy blood is necessary when spinal structures are recovering after an operation.
- Grabber and handrails – Finally, make sure that you invest in certain devices that can make life easier following a spine surgery, like a grabber or handrails for places like the bathroom. All of these devices work to take pressure off your spine, and sometimes their cost is even covered by insurance, so ask your surgeon which devices you may find most helpful following your operation.
For more tips, or for a consultation about your back pain, contact Dr. Sinicropi’s office today.