Anytime you bend to pick up or lift anything, you should be mindful to use your hips and legs and not your back. Avoid all heavy lifting, pushing or pulling for at least two weeks after your surgery. After two weeks, limit lifting to no more than 10 pounds and avoid lifting items repetitively. Before you lift, first plan where you are going to take the item and then make sure the area is clutter-free.
The proper way to bend or lift is to use your hips and legs. As you lift, bring the object close to you. Without holding your breath, contract your stomach muscles; lift the object with both your arms, bringing the object to your upper body. Remember, you shouldn’t hunch or arch your back as you bend or lift; instead, try to keep your back in a neutral position and bend at the hips and legs.
Another bending and reaching activity you can try is called the modified golfer’s lift. This lift allows you to safely reach into an object such as a refrigerator, washing machine or dryer.
As you stand, extend one leg behind you and support yourself with the same hand, keeping your back straight. Bend the other knee, reach into the object and then come back up, straightening the knee, and keeping your spine straight. Remember, you should not hunch or arch your back as you reach and lift; instead, try to keep your back straight as you return to the standing position.
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.