As you recover from spinal fusion surgery, part of your recovery and rehabilitation will be to find exercises to re-strengthen the muscles in your back. But not all exercises will do. You’ll need to be able to exercise without putting pressure on your spine – a tall task for some of the more common gym-style exercises.
One strategy that chiropractors and physical therapists recommend is to use aquatic therapy for spinal fusion recovery. Aquatic therapy involves exercising in water. The natural buoyancy of the water reduces pressure on the spine, yet the resistance of the water also helps ensure that exercises are able to condition the muscles. At Spine Center Atlanta, we also use a heated pool to relax the muscles even further.
Why Use Aquatic Therapy?
Immediately after spinal fusion, rest and relaxation is important to help recover after surgery. But once you’ve rested, you’ll need to rehabilitate the muscles, many of which were weakened by the procedure, and you’ll need to make sure that the muscles in your back help support your newly repaired spine.
Exercise is a critical part of healing. But you’ll also want to avoid damaging the muscles and the surgical site. Exercising in heated water has many benefits for your recovery, including:
- Less Injury Risk – Because there is less pressure on the spine, the risk of injury is low – especially when you engage in recommended exercises.
- More Difficult Workouts – Within water, your muscles are better supported. But the resistance of the water makes certain exercises more physically demanding. Walking in water, for example, is often a better aerobic activity for those that need to exercise, and puts less strain on the joints in the process.
- Muscle Therapy – The warm water used in aquatic therapy is known to relax the muscles, which means less tension and pain over time.
In addition, there is evidence that the pressure caused by water, known as hydrostatic pressure, can help with the healing process by promoting greater blood flow.
Exercises for Spinal Fusion
The best way to learn what aquatic therapy exercises are best for those recovering from spinal fusion is to work with your physical therapist at Spine Center Atlanta. But some of the exercises you may complete include:
- Water Walking
- Water Squats
- Leg Extensions
These are only a small sample of the types of aqua therapy spinal fusion exercises available. If you’re interested in learning more about aquatic therapy, a safe, effective exercise and recovery process for many spine conditions, please call us today at 404-649-0783.