The gator exercise is an important part of recovery from your surgery at Laser Spine Institute. It strengthens your entire back, helping to stabilize your spine. This is also a flexibility exercise for your thoracic spine and shoulders.
To do the gator exercise, start by lying on your right side with your knees and hips bent at 90 degrees.
Extend both of your arms straight out in front of you, palm-to-palm. Your head is supported by a pillow. As you inhale, slowly open up and move your arm on top backwards, keeping your pelvis still. If you are able to move farther, you can turn your head look towards your hand as you open up. Again, your pelvis is not moving. Exhale; return your hand palm to palm.
Repeat this exercise five to 10 times on each side. You should do this exercise one to two times per day.
Alternative exercises should only be performed if recommended by your physical therapist or physician.
The Laser Spine Institute Exercise Video Series, including all functional activities, post-surgical exercises and descriptions were designed specifically for Laser Spine Institute patients only. If you have not been prescribed these exercises, you should contact your physician before starting this or any exercise program. Exercise is not without its risks, and this or any other exercise program may result in injury. Risks include, but are not limited to: risk of injury, aggravation of a pre-existing condition, or adverse effect of over-exertion such as muscle strain, abnormal blood pressure, fainting and disorders of heart beat. As with any exercise program, if at any point during your workout you begin to feel faint, dizzy, or have physical discomfort, you should stop immediately and consult your surgeon's liaison or physician.