Sydney Brain & Spine Blog

Post Spinal Lumbar Surgery Exercises: Core Strengthening

Back surgery can leave patients feeling sore for days or even weeks following their treatment. Spinal balance is very delicate at this time of the healing process and strenuous exercise should be avoided. However, if you are becoming tired of resting and want to resume a semblance of an active lifestyle during recovery, there are options available to you. The following list of safe core exercises after a spinal fusion has been put together for our patients’ benefit. 

It is important to begin your return to normal exercising with some light mobility and stability work. Commence by performing a few light core exercises after a spinal surgery. If you begin to experience pain at any time during the following workout, stop immediately and return to rest. Avoiding further injury should be a higher priority than completing as many reps as possible. 

Set 1: Ankle Pumps 

  1. Lie flat on your back. 2. Raise your feet so your ankles stretch and your toes point towards you. 3. Point the feet out straight, away from you, by flexing the ankles. 4. Repeat up to 30 times, taking a rest after each set of 10 reps. 

Set 2: Heel Slides 

  1. Lie flat on your back. 2. Bend one knee so that the sole of the foot goes to the ground. 3. Straighten the knee back out. 4. Repeat this motion on the other knee. 5. Repeat up to 30 times for each leg, taking a rest after each set of 10 reps. 

Set 3: Hip Bridges 

  1. Lie flat on your back with your hands palms-down on the ground next to you. 2. Place the soles of your feet flat on the ground at a hip’s width’s distance. 3. Raise your hips into the air while your shoulders and feet stay stationary. 4. Hold the arch position for 20-30 seconds. 5. Slowly return to a flat lying position. 6. Repeat these motions up to 10 times. 

Repeat these motions daily, twice daily even if you can manage it. When you begin to feel comfortable enough with the exercises to move onto something else, you may try a few strengthening core exercises for after a spinal fusion. 

Set 1: Stability Ball Pelvic Tilt 

  1. Sit on a stability ball with your knees bent at 90 degree angles and your feet flat on the 

ground. 2. Place your hands on your hips. 3. Slightly contract your core muscles to tilt your pelvis forward. 

  1. Gently send the pelvis back, creating an arch in the lower back. 5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 for one minute. 6. Repeat these steps up to 10 times. 

Set 2: Bird Dog 

  1. Get on all fours with knees beneath your hips and hands beneath your shoulders 2. Extend your left foot with the toes pointed downward. 3. Extend your right arm with palms facing in and thumb pointing up. 4. Hold the pose for five seconds, unless you feel pain in your lower back. 5. Bring the left knee and right elbow to near your naval. 6. Repeat on the other side. 7. Repeat these steps up to 10 times. 

If you have recently had spinal lumbar surgery completed or know someone who has, please feel free to contact our clinic today to ask for advice about post-op strengthening exercises. We’re available from Monday to Friday to take your call on +61 2 8382 6724