What Exercises to Do After a Lumbar Microdiscectomy

By Rachel Nall

What Exercises to Do After a Lumbar Microdiscectomy

Microdiscectomy is a surgical procedure that removes diseased spinal disc material. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images

The lumbar region includes five spinal discs that fit together to support your lower back. Over time, one or more of the discs can slip out of place, pressing on the nerves in your back. A miscrodiscectomy procedure is a disc removal procedure that takes diseased disc material out to reduce the pressure on your nerves. Although lumbar microdiscectomy can correct the problem, your recovery may take up to six months to restore sensation. During this time, you can perform physical therapy exercises to encourage circulation to the lower back.

Recovery Stretch

This stretch is ideal following surgery because it stretches the hamstring muscles that can become tense following back surgery. To begin, lie on the floor or on your bed with your feet flat on the floor. Tuck your pelvis under to bring your lower back on the ground. Turn the right leg out slightly and straighten the leg, feeling a stretch in your leg and inner thigh. Leave the right leg extended, then repeat this exercise on your left leg, straightening it. After both legs are straightened, bring the left leg in to return to your starting position, then the right leg. Repeat this exercise five to six times throughout the day for best results.


Four-Point Stabilization

This exercise is best performed two to three weeks following microdiscectomy surgery. It is a stabilization exercise, meaning it helps to strengthen the muscles in your back and spine for better posture. Starting on all fours, raise your right arm in the air, lifting it to your front at shoulder height. Maintain your balance as you extend your left leg backward. Hold this position for 10 to 15 seconds, then lower the leg and arm. Repeat the exercise using the opposite hand and leg.

Abdominal Strengthening Exercise

Exercises to strengthen the abdominals help to increase stability in your back. The addition of these exercise ball supports your back while further challenging your abdominal muscles. Start by sitting on the stability ball and walk the legs out to lean slightly back, keeping your torso straight. Your knees should be over your ankles. Place your hands behind your head and contract your stomach muscles to lift your shoulders off the ball. Slowly lower your shoulders to return to your starting position and repeat 8 to 10 times.

Aerobic Exercise

Aerobic exercise helps you maintain spine flexibility and a healthy weight. Upon approval from your physician, you can engage in low-impact exercises like walking, riding a bicycle and swimming. Start with small time intervals, exercising for 10 minutes at a time the week following surgery. Work your way up to 30 to 40 minutes per day for most days of the week.

Credits & Documentation references

Post-Operation Exercises