Since any surgical site will heal with scar tissue, some surgeons feel that to minimize scarring of the nerve root, gentle stretching exercises should be done in the early postoperative period.

The stretching exercises should be done about 5 to 6 times a day for 6 to 12 weeks, since this is the time period in which the scarring occurs

The safest way to stretch is to lie down and maximally flex the hips and gradually extend the knee. This maneuver will also stretch the hamstring muscles, which is important for rehabilitation of the back.

It is generally advisable to do the stretching exercises frequently and gently. Stretching too hard may result in pain, and one should only take the stretch to the point of pain, and not beyond, to avoid inflaming the nerve.

Find examples of these stretches at:
http://www.spine-health.com/video/hamstring-exercises-low-back-pain-relief-video

Use Ice and Heat to Ease the Pain

Comfortable clothing and body positioning, and frequent ice application (especially in the first 48 to 72 hours) can also aid in pain management. Icing after activity such as walking and stretching can also be beneficial. Early on, the application of heat to the surgical area can increase blood flow to the tissues and may cause slight increase in swelling and pain so should instead be considered at a later point. Heat can be helpful early on to relieve tension or muscle pain in other regions of the body and might be worth trying. Often pain and stiffness will improve in response to frequent position change, or short walks either indoors or outdoors.

Walk

Regular physical activity help prevent constipation, makes you feel better about yourself, helps manager your weight, improves large back muscle tone and core strength and can prevent future episodes of back pain. It is important to let pain be your guide and balance activity with rest early after surgery.

During the first two weeks after surgery the walking goal is 1-3 miles per day or walking for 1 hour. You can divide this up during the day as tolerated.

Testimonials From Our Past Patients

Al
Anterior Cervical Corpectomy, Cervical Decompression

“Thanks to Dr. Wascher and his team. Their personal and professional care is second to none. I would highly recommend them to anybody.” says Al, who was suffering from headaches, neck pain, and pain and numbness from the left shoulder through his arm. Thanks to Dr. Wascher and his team, all those symptoms vanished immediately after the two surgeries he received.

Chad Mielke
Multilevel Posterior Cervical Laminectomies with Fusion and Instrumentation

Chad was experiencing numbness in the fingers of his right hand, which spread to the middle of the back and spread to other parts of the body. Dr. Wascher and his team offered timely help, from a medical opinion, to actually performing the surgical procedure. From Dr. Wascher who, as Chad says, “held my hand the whole time, and answered all my questions promptly” to David Bond (Nurse practitioner) who helped Chad through the recovery process, the whole team quickly and comfortably turned things around from not being able to sleep to leading a much more comfortable life.

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