Bilateral Knee to Chest Exercise

Spine surgery recovery tips from Laser Spine Institute — the bilateral knee to chest exercise

Following a surgical procedure at Laser Spine Institute, it is important to be as active as possible. This might seem a bit counterintuitive, but gentle movement can actually promote healing. Of course, you’ll need to avoid bending, lifting and twisting until your physician advises otherwise, but mild exercises recommended by your physical therapist can provide many benefits.


Reasons to exercise after spine surgery

The experts at Laser Spine Institute generally advise patients who undergo surgery to begin exercising right away for several reasons. First, the muscles surrounding the surgical site will be temporarily inhibited after surgery. Because those muscles provide stability to the spinal structure, it is important to encourage them to resume their proper function as soon as possible. Second, stretching exercises can restore range of motion and flexibility that were lost due to inactivity of the core, back and abdominal muscles that occurred in the days leading up to surgery to compensate for the discomfort. This can help alleviate stiffness and ease simple movements, such as standing up from a seated position. Finally, physical activity encourages blood flow, which delivers oxygen and nutrients that are essential for proper healing.


The bilateral knee to chest exercise

For many patients, the physical therapists at Laser Spine Institute recommend the bilateral knee to chest exercise as an excellent way to gently stretch the lower back and buttock muscles after surgery. This stretch can be performed on a bed, couch, floor or other flat surface where you feel comfortable. Here’s what to do:

  • Step 1 — Lie on your back with both knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
  • Step 2 — Slowly raise one knee up toward your chest, followed by the other knee.
  • Step 3 — Place your hands under your knees and gently pull toward your chest, then hold the position while taking a deep breath.
  • Step 4 — Slowly release your legs, one at a time, and return to your original position in step 1.

The bilateral knee to chest exercise can be performed once or twice daily, and repeated five to 10 times during each session. Remember to breathe and move slowly throughout the stretching sequence. As with any other form of exercise, if at any time you begin to feel faint or dizzy or experience physical discomfort, you should stop immediately and consult your physician or therapist at Laser Spine Institute.

If you have questions or would like further information about rehabilitation and exercise following spine surgery, contact Laser Spine Institute.