Surgeries are the last resort of treatment recommendation if all of the other ways fail to improve a certain condition. One of the most difficult surgeries one could experience is back surgery. Whether it is a Spinal Fusion Surgery, Artificial disk replacement Surgery, Discectomy, or Foraminotomy, every back surgery is a nerve-wracking experience. Patients often discover everything about this overwhelming even after surgery, from taking a lot of medications to feeling pain and discomfort, but most of all, gaining more pounds which makes the recovery even more challenging. Let’s talk about the Exercises After Back Surgery in this article.
Weight gain after undergoing back surgery is not uncommon. Causes may include fluid retention, being sedentary for a prolonged period of time, or stress-eating.
Fluid retention, or postoperative edema, is the most common cause of weight gain after surgery. It is the accumulation of fluid in the tissues caused by the redistribution of plasma proteins. It could also be caused by Intravenous (IV) fluids given during and after the surgery. Edema can be located in one area of the body (localized) or throughout the whole body (generalized).
After the surgery, your doctor may require you to limit your activity and rest more. For the first few weeks, rest is essential and can help you reduce the risk of another injury. But some patients may tend to overprotect their backs, avoiding movement and physical activity as much as possible, which results in becoming sedentary because of pain and discomfort for too long. This causes a decrease in muscle mass and an increase in fat mass. However, Exercises After Back Surgery can be recommended.
Recovering from surgery is difficult and takes a lot of physical and emotional demands. It can be draining not only physically but also emotionally. This may have you reaching for your comfort food to make you feel better and relying on it, resulting in weight gain.
Whatever the cause of the sudden weight gain, the most important question is, how do you lose weight after back surgery?
Starting A Weight Loss Program After Back Surgery
In losing weight, there are two ways following back surgery which are equally important, diet and some Exercises After Back Surgery.
I. Healthy And Balanced Diet
High-quality foods that are rich in vitamins, minerals, and proteins are important to help your body recover and prevent unwanted weight gain following back surgery.
Here are recommendations for a healthy diet and good nutrition:
1. Consume Healthy And Quality Calories
Because of the need for your body to heal, your metabolism increases after back surgery. Your body needs at least twice your usual caloric intake to heal properly. What’s important is that these extra consumed calories are healthy to prevent added weight. Eating foods that are rich in protein first will help in recovery and maintain muscle mass while losing weight. This includes eggs, lean meats, tofu, poultry, fish, beans, and low-fat and fat-free dairy foods.
You can also benefit from foods that provide vitamin C, such as acerola Cherries, citrus fruits, strawberries, and oranges. Vitamin A, such as carrots, potatoes, spinach, and broccoli, milk, and zinc, such as oysters, meat, and liver. These foods could also help in fighting off infections.
2. Drinking Liquids
If you can’t resist having smoothies or shakes, you might as well add this to your post-operative diet. Supplemental shakes and smoothies, which are high in protein, are a great way to add variety to what you consume. You can do this with milk, soy milk, or yogurt.
You can also try ready-to-drink protein shakes such as LuckyFit Complete Protein, which promotes weight loss.
II. Physical Activity And Exercise
The second most important part of losing weight is physical activity and exercise. Before starting or planning any weight loss program after back surgery, you must get a clearance first for your safety. Planning it with your doctor is recommended so that they can determine more suitable Exercises After Back Surgery for you.
Pain at the beginning of the program is usually expected as the wound is initially healing. However, it is important always to be cautious when doing exercises. You can begin it with a gentle, low-impact exercise such as walking. This will help ease your back slowly into doing physical activity.
To prevent muscle strain and overstressing the back, it is highly recommended to do the exercises in a pool.
Here are some Exercises After Back Surgery you can do:
1. Pool Walking
Stand in water at chest level at the side of the pool. Then try to walk forward and then backward slowly. Do at least 10 repetitions in the pool, then rest.
2. Side Leg Raise
Stand in the water at the side of the pool. Use your hand to hold the railings for support. Then, slowly raise your leg on your side. Hold this for 7 seconds, do this for 10 repetitions, 1-2 sets. Repeat on the other side.
3. Forward Leg Raise
Stand in the water at the side of the pool. Use your hand to hold the railings for support. Slowly raise your leg forward. Then, hold this for 7 seconds, do this for 10 repetitions, 1-2 sets. Repeat on the other side.
4. Knee To Chest
Stand in the water on one leg and bend it slightly. Use your hand to hold the railings for support. Lift your other leg and bend your knees for 90 degrees. Stop at a comfortable position. Hold this for 7 seconds, do this for 10 repetitions, 1-2 sets. Repeat on the other side.
5. One-Legged Balance
For this Exercises After Back Surgery, Stand in the water. Use your hand to hold the railings for support. Slowly lift your feet up just enough to balance on one leg. Hold this for 7 seconds, do this for 10 repetitions, 1-2 sets. Repeat on the other side.
Stand in the water. Put your right leg forward with knees bent while the left knees are extended to perform the lunge position. Put your arms straight out in front of you at chest height with your palms touching, fingers extended, and thumbs up.
Losing weight right after back surgery is not advisable. Before doing or planning a weight loss program, make sure you have a clearance with your doctor. The first few weeks after the surgery is hard, as you need extra calories for recovery. However, with consistent effort with, proper diet and exercise, you will easily return to your normal weight.
Having a strong back allows you to perform daily tasks with ease and more importantly, prevent future injuries. Strengthening your back can also help correct poor posture, improve your balance, prevent falls and better your quality of life. Don’t wait any longer. It’s time to focus on your back health! Check out our 10 Easy Movements for Stronger Back now!