Worried about whether or not you’ll be able to return to your favorite activities following your back surgery? Not to fret. Today, sports physiologists encourage many post-surgical patients to return to some form of exercise almost right away. From gentle water walking to personalized stretching routines, your rehabilitation program can be fun and get you back to the activities you love most — fast!
Walk Your Way to Flexibility…In the Water
Aerobic water walking has become one of the most popular forms of rehabilitation following back surgery. Many people begin water routines with the sole purpose of entering their recovery program with ease, only to discover the fun whole body benefits. Some ranges of motion require subtle movement following surgery. Performing these ranges of motion while submerged in water takes away much of the pressure gravity exerts on land, making it easier to stretch. One of the major issues patients report is a fear of falling just following surgery. Water walking takes that fear away by offering the ultimate cushion as you regain your equilibrium. The YMCA offers classes throughout the U.S. that are led by certified instructors to help get you in the groove.
Stretch Your Way to Recovery
Now that you’ve restored your balance and begun to build strength by practicing in the water, regaining agility and flexibility is next in your back recovery plan. The small spaces between discs can become compressed after surgery if movement is not reinstated. Focused, guided stretches and exercises will assist in preventing further pain and injury by keeping spinal health in check.
Most important is to follow a personalized plan that is right for the type of injury you’re recovering from. Following the advice of trained physical therapists will ensure the routine you follow is best suited to the type of back surgery you’ve had performed. Laser Spine Institute offers all levels of rehabilitative stretching exercises online, taking the guesswork out of it. You can stretch from the comfort of your own home or while traveling. The video series even break down tips on how to get out of bed easier and how to go from a sitting to standing position with ease just following surgery.
Massage Therapy to Improve Flexibility
Enlist the help of a trained massage therapist to continue your path toward improved mobility and flexibility. Avoiding scar thickening is key to continued flexibility. As you begin your new exercise routines, you’ll also want a way to focus on lymphatic drainage to help reduce swelling. Massage therapy can assist in eliminating metabolic waste from the body, therefore reducing inflammation. Guided movement helps connective tissues work together so you can move with ease, so you won’t be dealing with bumps, lumps and knots often left behind after surgery. The American Massage Therapy Association is a great online resource to watch a demonstration and to help you find a certified professional in your area.
Remember, flexibility heavily depends on your water intake. Nutrients flow best to tissues with proper hydration, while waste is eliminated. Drink at least 64 oz. a day.