Category: Spine | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: May 28, 2020
Spine surgery is designed to get you back to doing all the activities you love, but surgery alone won’t return you to your physical peak. In order to get back to doing the physical activities you love after spine surgery, you need to work on regaining as much spinal flexibility as possible. Your recovery period is a crucial time in reestablishing spinal flexibility, and while you may be able to increase it once healing has run its course, there’s also the possibility that scar tissue from the surgery could eventually inhibit flexibility, so improving it during recovery is your best option.
So what are the best ways to increase your spinal flexibility as you proceed through your rehabilitation? We showcase some of our favorite ways patients can improve their spinal flexibility after surgery in today’s blog.
Increasing Spinal Flexibility After Surgery
Increasing spinal flexibility and range of motion in your spine are probably already priorities for your physical therapist, but it’s a good topic to touch on if you have questions about your rehab. Also, while the following tips can be helpful in reestablishing your spinal flexibility, make sure that you have clearance to try these moves from your surgeon or PT before moving forward with a therapy plan outside of your recommended course. When in doubt, stick with the plan given by the person who has evaluated you in person.
With that said, some ways you can work to increase your spinal flexibility after surgery include:
- Stretching – Stretching is a great way to slowly expand your range of motion and target specific directions in which you’d like to become more flexible. Regular stretching can also help prevent key muscle groups from becoming stiff. Ask your physical therapist for help developing a stretching program based on your surgery and your goals.
- Water Exercises – Aquatic exercises are another great way to safely improve your spinal range of motion. Assuming you have the clearance to get in the water once your surgical site heals, a water-based exercise program is great because the natural resistance of water inherently helps develop spinal structures and improve your flexibility.
- Diet and Hydration – While these two points won’t directly help reestablish your spinal flexibility after surgery, making smart decisions when it comes to food and water intake can help prevent the onset of spinal inflammation and weight gain, which can provide a hindrance to spinal flexibility. Make sure you are eating a range of healthy foods and getting plenty of essential vitamins and minerals, and strive to drink at least 64 ounces of water each day, as dehydrated muscles don’t move as well, inhibiting flexibility.
- Massage Therapy – Massage therapy shouldn’t be the only way you’re working to improve spinal flexibility, but it can be helpful alongside other techniques when used correctly. Massage therapy is a passive technique that can help improve spinal flexibility by breaking up scar tissue formation and improving lymphatic drainage. Consult with your medical team to see if a massage therapy routine could aid in your spinal flexibility recovery.
For more tips on improving spinal flexibility, or for help with your back pain condition, reach out to Dr. Sinicropi’s office today.