When it comes to undergoing spinal surgery, the fitter you are, the better your surgery outcome. While this might not be unexpected, the real truth goes a bit deeper than you might think.
Whether you have experienced a spinal injury or a long-term degenerative disease of the spine, losing weight and increasing core muscle strength is vital. In the case of an injury, the surgery may need to be scheduled quickly leaving little time to prepare your body, but even a small number of weeks of physical exercise are enough to positively impact on the result of the surgery.
Here are some things you can do leading up to spinal surgery to give yourself the best chance of success:
1. Take daily walks or do other aerobic exercise. Gently walking is a great way to prepare for surgery – ideally on soft ground such as sand or grass that cushions the impact. Since surgery is often required when movement is restricted, many people will feel pain while exercising and walking may be all they can manage. However, if more aerobic exercise can be undertaken, then this is best followed under instruction from Dr Moloney.
2. Focus on core muscles. Low intensity abdominal exercises are ideal. Talk to Dr Moloney about the best exercises for your condition.
3. Exercise to relieve pain. Not only will many exercises improve your chances of having a successful surgery but some types of spinal pain can be even relieved by certain exercises. Dr Moloney can advise on the exercises that may best be used to relieve pain in your condition.
4. Tune in to the mental benefits. When you body is strong so is your mind. As you exercise, feel the mental calm that is the side-effect. Stress reduces the bodies’ ability to heal and fight infection so a pre-operative program of gentle exercise with breath control throughout can provide phychologically beneficial.
So could ‘pre-hab’ be even more important than re-hab? The saying ‘start how you intend to finish’ applies here. If you can take positive action in the pre-operative period you will be better prepared, mentally and physically, to do so afterwards.