The Best Exercises To Do After Back Surgery

Sometimes, exercising isn't as easy as going for a run or completing a few sets of jumping jacks. Pain can get in the way of exercise, as can surgeries. It's easy to feel intimidated by exercise because of any of these factors, especially when exercising in a gym or other public space. Exercise has many benefits, such as combatting anxiety and depression, but everyone ultimately has their own relationship with it. For example, some exercises are better suited for those with joint pain, and beginners need their own strength training exercises, too.

Exercising after surgery is especially hard. Human bodies need to heal, and healing times can vary widely depending on the surgery. Still, many like to exercise every day and others may want to ease back in. (According to Science Daily, exercise was found to heal wounds at an increased speed in older adults.)

Our backs and spines support our entire bodies, so they need to heal before getting back to the gym or even exercising in your own home. Doing so too early could result in worse back damage. According to Spine Universe, smaller back procedures require about four weeks of healing, while more serious procedures require between eight to 12 weeks of recovery. Some people may even experience longer healing periods. Still, there may be a few exercises you can do easily once you've rested.

These exercises can help you build back some muscle

While exercising after having a back surgery can be dangerous if pushed too far, some exercises are acceptable and can actually make you feel better. According to The Southeastern Spine Institute, the three best exercises to do post-surgery are planks, bridges, and abdominal draw-ins. Planks involve lying flat on your stomach and lifting your body for set periods of time, building arm, core, and leg strength. Meanwhile, bridges are when you lie on your back with bent knees and lift your hips upward until you're at a hypotenuse angle, and abdominal draw-ins will see you flat on your back with bent knees, a tightened core, and repeatedly raising legs as if you're marching in place.

In addition to these stationary exercises, Verywell Health explains that walking is important for post-back surgery recovery. Overdoing it won't benefit you, but ensuring that you get on your feet when the pain isn't too bad can help build your muscles back up after surgery. This is especially important before attempting your pre-surgery workout routine. "Make sure you are fully recovered from surgery before rushing back. A lot of patients do great after surgery and try to resume their pre-surgery level of activities too soon," Dr. Dwight Tyndall explained (via Spine Universe). "You have to allow yourself the time to recover from surgery and gradually work your way back..."

Ultimately, stop if you feel pain, but some light exercise might benefit you.