Three exercises to help you recover from ruptured disc surgery

After ruptured disc surgery, it’s important to carefully follow any recovery guidelines provided by your treatment team. This may include an individualized prescription for physical therapy or perhaps even a recommendation for at-home exercises. Stretching and strengthening the muscles that support the spine is crucial after surgery.

Preparing for an exercise plan

Before getting started with an exercise plan, make sure that you have the official green light from your surgeon. You’ll likely be advised to rest for a short period after your ruptured disc surgery, giving your body the time it needs to heal. Doing too much, too soon — especially in terms of lifting heavy objects or placing too much strain on your neck or back — can be detrimental to the recovery process.

Once you’ve been cleared for exercise, you’ll want to discuss your options with a physician or a physical therapist. It’s important to make sure that any exercises you select are appropriate for your current needs and abilities. Additionally, be sure to stop if you experience sudden pain or discomfort at any time.

Ruptured disc exercises

When you’re ready to start your exercise program, consider the following three exercises that can be highly beneficial after ruptured disc surgery:

  • Pelvic tilts. Lie on your back with your knees bent. Draw your stomach in toward your spine while gently tilting your pelvic bone toward the ceiling. Release, returning to a flat-back position, then repeat several times.
  • Bridging. Lie on your back with your knees bent, exactly as you would for a pelvic tilt. This time, however, lift your hips and buttocks off the floor, going as far as is comfortable for your body. Hold for several seconds, then release and return to a flat-back position. Repeat several times.
  • Prone hip extensions. Lie on your stomach with your hands pressed to the floor. Keep your core stable and lift one leg off the ground. Hold for several seconds. Switch legs and repeat.

These exercises are well complemented by a cardio conditioning program, such as a regular walking, swimming or cycling routine. This can help promote enhanced circulation, greater stamina and range of motion and even weight loss or maintenance — all beneficial achievements following ruptured disc surgery.

Of course, exercise is just one part of a surgical recovery plan and each patient’s needs are different. This is especially true when taking into consideration the type of ruptured disc surgery that a patient had. Minimally invasive spine surgery, such as those performed at Laser Spine Institute, often have shorter recoveries than traditional open neck or back procedures.^

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