One Month – Three Months
Sitting or driving should continue to be limited to 45-50 minutes at a time. This allows for a stretch break at frequent intervals. Simple stretches outlined below are very helpful throughout the day.
Your walking program may increase to include short periods of NON-STRESSFUL jogging. (i.e. for 1\4 to 1\2 mile). Remember that during the initial part of your walk/ jog you should expect to be “tight”, but as you continue you will “loosen up”. If as you walk/jog further you begin to get uncomfortable again, this is your body letting you know that you have walked/jogged far enough!
A specialized back/neck exercise program should now be considered. It has been shown over and over that patients who undergo a supervised program following surgery do statistically better than those patients who do not! At Neuroscience & Spine Associates we have devised an outstanding program for back/neck rehabilitation. Please remember to ask Dr Gerber/Lusk to get this arranged for you.
You can now start light golf (putting and chipping), bicycling, light jogging, and aerobics (low-impact, and non-step type) at this time. Remember not to strain during any activity—–think of this first 6 wks to 3 months as a period of conditioning and preparation for a more comprehensive exercise program!
Many of our patients who enjoy more “social” exercise programs have benefited greatly from N.A.S.A.’s Medex Program. This is a specialized back and neck program originating from the University of Florida. It combines computer technology with machinery based on Nautalus (r). The Naples Community Hospital’s Wellness Program or the YMCA Back Program can also provide you with excellent strenghening programs.
At three months you are ready to get back to a “normal” life.
If you plan to Golf: The driving range can still be dangerous as you repetitively over-work the same muscles and ligaments (and Disk!). Limit yourself to 1/2 a bucket of balls, and go for accuracy rather than range. Also, most pros (as you probably know) recommend the “modern” swing where your hips and shoulders remain in line as you follow the ball. The “old” swings concentrated on keeping your eye on the tee longer, requiring more upper body twist.
If you plan to play Tennis: Doubles are recommended. Single tennis is OK but,! you have to be reasonable for three more months and let the “killers” by! This is a very hard sport on the back.
If you plan to Bicycle: This is an excellent sport to start even at 6 weeks following surgery. The best position is one in which you change while riding. The newer models (which are in between the racers and old cruisers) typical of light mountain-bikes allow the arms to work as shock absorbers and support for the back yet with not too much flexion.
The following sports are not recommended, but I’m willing to discuss them with you!:
Water skiing, rollerblade, football, rugby, roller coasters, and bungee-jumping.