How Core Strengthening After Lumbar Surgery Promotes Healing

Patients who have had a lumbar surgery are understandably concerned about making sure that they heal as intended. For this reason, many patients are afraid to be active and some do not want to move at all, fearing that they will risk injuring themselves. In actuality, and contrary to this fear, movement is very important to foster healing. There are precautions to keep in mind – avoid bending, lifting, and twisting – but stay active with short, frequent, gentle movements. Core strengthening after lumbar surgery is strongly recommended and delivers many benefits.

Core Strengthening Exercises

The Bridge:

This exercises strengthens several core muscle groups: the buttocks, abdominals, and back. Lie flat on your back with your knees bent at a 90 degree angle and feet flat on the floor. Tighten the abdominals. Raise your buttocks off the floor while keeping the abdominals tight. Your shoulders to knees should be in a straight line. Hold for a count of five the slowly lower your buttocks to the floor. Repeat this exercise five times.

The Plank:

This exercises strengthens the back, abdominals, and neck. Lay on your stomach with your elbows and forearms on the floor. In a push-up position, balance on your toes and elbows while keeping your back and legs straight. Tighten the abdominals and hold this position for 10 seconds then relax. Repeat this exercise five to ten times.

The Side Plank:

This exercise is used to strengthen the obliques. Lie on your right side and place your elbow and forearm on the floor. Tighten the abdominals. Push up until your shoulder is over your elbow. Keep your feet, knees, hips, shoulders and head in a straight line. Only your forearm and the side of your right foot should be on the floor, with feet stacked. Hold this positions for 10 seconds and relax. Repeat this exercise five to ten times then switch sides.

Rotational Crunch:

This exercise is used to strengthen the obliques. A rotational crunch is similar to a regular crunch. The difference being, the direction you raise your head and shoulders off the floor is diagonal. Lie flat on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Do not anchor your feet. Tighten you abdominals. Keep your lower back flat on the floor and neck straight. Rotate your body so that the weight rests on the left shoulder. Then, keeping your chin tucked, bring your head and shoulders upward and raise your right shoulder higher than the left. Do these moves slowly.

Reverse Crunch:

This exercise is great for core strengthening after lumbar surgery, as it strengthens the lower abdominals. Lie flat on the floor with your feet in the air. Bend your knees as a 90 degree angle. Place your hands under the buttocks for support and makes sure that the lower back remains flat on the floor. Tighten the lower abdomen and lift your buttocks a few inches off your hands. Hold for a moment then lower back down. Do this exercise for five to 15 repetitions.


Web MD: Core Strengthening Exercises –

Spine Health: Back and Abdominal Exercises –