Recovering Strong: Essential Exercises for a Safe and Effective Spine Surgery Recovery


Spine surgery can be a life-changing procedure that provides relief from chronic pain and improves your overall quality of life. However, the road to recovery after spine surgery can be challenging, requiring patience, dedication, and proper guidance. One crucial aspect of post-surgery recovery is a tailored exercise program. In this blog, we’ll explore the importance of exercises after spine surgery and provide a range of safe and effective exercises to help you regain strength and mobility.

Why Exercise Matters After Spine Surgery

  • Preventing Muscle Atrophy: Exercises after spine surgery, you may experience muscle weakness due to inactivity. Exercise helps prevent muscle atrophy, maintaining strength in the supporting muscles of your spine.
  • Improved Flexibility: Gentle stretching exercises can improve flexibility and reduce stiffness in the spine, aiding in the healing process.
  • Pain Management: Controlled and supervised exercises can help manage pain, potentially reducing the need for pain medication.
  • Enhanced Blood Circulation: Exercise promotes better blood circulation, which aids in the healing of surgical incisions and tissues.
  • Mental Well-being: Physical activity releases endorphins, which can boost your mood and overall mental well-being during the recovery period.
Exercises after Spine Surgery | Bharath Orthopaedics

Before You Start: Consult Your Surgeon

Before beginning any exercises after spine surgery, it’s crucial to consult your surgeon or physical therapist. They can provide personalized recommendations based on your specific surgery and medical history.

Safe and Effective Exercises for Exercises after Spine Surgery

  • Deep Breathing Exercises: Start with deep breathing exercises to improve lung function and oxygenate your body. Sit or lie down comfortably, inhale deeply through your nose, and exhale slowly through your mouth.
  • Gentle Neck Stretches: Gently tilt your head forward, backward, and from side to side to stretch your neck muscles. Hold each position for 10-15 seconds and repeat several times.
  • Leg Raises: While lying on your back, keep one leg straight and lift it a few inches off the floor. Hold for a few seconds and lower it down.
  • Seated Marching: Sit on a stable surface and lift one knee toward your chest, then lower it down. Alternate legs, as if you are marching in place, and repeat for 10-15 repetitions on each leg.
  • Wall Angels: Stand with your back against a wall, arms bent at a 90-degree angle. Slowly slide your arms up the wall and then back down, keeping your elbows and wrists in contact with the wall. Repeat for 10-15 repetitions.

Safety Tips

  • Use proper form and technique to avoid straining your back or neck.
  • Start with low-intensity exercises and progress gradually as your strength improves.
  • Stay hydrated and maintain a balanced diet to support your recovery.

Exercises after Cervical Spine Surgery

Exercises after cervical spine surgery should be performed under the guidance and supervision of a qualified physical therapist or healthcare provider. The specific exercises you should do will depend on the type of surgery you had, your individual condition, and your surgeon’s recommendations. Always follow your healthcare provider’s instructions and only do exercises that have been approved for your specific situation. Here are some general guidelines for exercises that are commonly recommended after cervical spine surgery:

Neck Range of Motion Exercises

  • Gently move your neck through its range of motion, including flexion (forward), extension (backward), lateral flexion (side-to-side), and rotation (turning left and right).
  • Start with small movements and gradually increase the range of motion as directed by your healthcare provider.

Neck Stretches

  • Hold each stretch for about 20-30 seconds and repeat as directed.

Isometric Neck Strengthening

  • Isometric exercises involve contracting muscles without moving the neck. This can help build strength and stability.
  • Examples include gently pressing your forehead against your hand while resisting the movement with your hand, or pushing your palm against the side of your head while resisting with your head.

Shoulder and Upper Back Exercises

  • Maintaining good posture is essential for proper neck support. Strengthening the muscles in your shoulders and upper back can help with this.
  • Exercises may include shoulder blade squeezes, scapular retractions, and shoulder shrugs.

Breathing Exercises

  • Deep breathing exercises can help relax and strengthen the muscles in your neck and upper back.
  • Focus on slow, deep breaths, and try to expand your ribcage while inhaling.


Incorporating safe and effective exercises after spine surgery into your post-surgery recovery plan can significantly improve your healing process. Always consult your healthcare provider before starting any exercise program, and remember that patience is key. With dedication and a carefully tailored exercise routine, you can regain strength, flexibility, and overall well-being on your journey to recovery after spine surgery.

Read also How to Sleep After Spine Surgery.

Frequently Asked Questions

Post-surgery, the timeline for resuming exercise can vary depending on your specific surgery and your surgeon’s recommendations. Generally, gentle movements and walking are encouraged shortly after surgery, while more strenuous exercises may be delayed for several weeks to months. Always consult your surgeon to determine the appropriate timing for your specific case.

Safe exercises after spine surgery typically include low-impact activities such as walking, gentle stretching, and core-strengthening exercises recommended by your physical therapist. Specific exercises may vary based on your surgery type and individual condition. Avoid high-impact activities, heavy lifting, or any exercise that causes pain or discomfort unless directed otherwise by your healthcare provider.

Yes, exercise can play a crucial role in reducing post-surgery pain and complications. Gentle exercises and physical therapy can help improve blood circulation, reduce stiffness, and prevent muscle atrophy. These activities also aid in maintaining a healthy weight, which can lessen the strain on your spine. However, it’s essential to follow your healthcare provider’s guidance to ensure you engage in the right exercises at the appropriate intensity to avoid any potential complications.