Muscles within your body work in pairs by extending and contracting. The immediate rest and immobility that’s often associated with a spine injury can weaken those once healthy muscles, possibly making the recovery process long and frustrating. After getting the nod from your doctor, consider the following steps to maintain or regain optimal muscle tone after undergoing spine surgery in Beverly Hills.
Stretching is one of the safest ways to maintain muscle tone following a spine injury. Shifting your arms from one side to another while slightly twisting your body, for instance, works the rotator muscles (controlling side-to-side movements of the spine). Light stretching can also include:
• Forward bends (leaning forward while sitting in a chair and letting your arms touch the floor)
• Neck turns or twists (as far as comfortable if your spine injury affected the cervical spine)
• Side-to-side arm movements
In addition to strengthening leg and buttocks muscles, walking also impacts the erector spinae, a set of muscles running the entire length of the spine that absorb much of the impact of everyday movements. Walking is highly controlled and can be done at a pace that’s comfortable for you outdoors or on a treadmill under supervision.
Once you reach a point where it’s safe to exercise, start with light exercises designed to stretch and stimulate intertransverse (bending to one side or another) and interspinal (backward and forward bending) muscles of the spine.
• Tiny squats (only bending a few inches at the knees to minimize strain)
• Arm lifts (strengthens trapezius and latissimus dorsi muscles supporting the upper spine)
• Light weight lifting
Muscles can also be strengthened while getting back to everyday activities like doing the dishes, working in the garden, or walking around the mall. Your activity level can be slowly increased as your muscle strength improves or returns while healing.
Your ability to maintain or regain muscle tone depends on how active you were before injury, whether you underwent spinal fusion or motion-preserving spine surgery, and how successful treatment or surgery was to correct the damage. Developing a recovery plan that includes muscle retention, however, improves the odds of enjoying a successful recovery while reducing the risk of re-injury.
For more information about spine surgery or to find out about surgical spine treatments available to you, turn to Dr. Hyun Bae, Medical Director of The Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration. Dr. Bae’s extensive experience in spine surgery and his ongoing research efforts ensure you will be presented with all available treatment options. Call (310) 828-7757 today to request a consultation.