Can I Do Yoga After Back Surgery?

August 23, 2014

Yoga can be an excellent way to improve flexibility and mobility of the spine, as well as core strength. It is also an excellent tool for opening up the chest and relieving an over-stretched back and shoulders, as well as strengthening the core. Core strength is an important part of a healthy back. A strong core supports the spine from the front.

Over-stretched muscles are weak muscles. Working on a computer, driving, texting and many other aspects of the modern lifestyle all cause the shoulders to come forward by shortening the muscles of the chest. This leads to the muscles of the back becoming over-stretched and weak. Many yoga poses focus on opening the shoulders and chest, which relieves the over-stretched back and can allow the muscles to begin to return to their normal position.

Since yoga is full of isometric exercises, it can also strengthen weakened back muscles, which can often be a problem for people who have had chronic back issues. Building strength in back muscles help support the spine, which can sometimes improve lingering back issues that persist after surgery. Sometimes these issues come from muscular imbalances due to compensating for the injured spine. Yoga can help to reverse these imbalances and restore muscle tone.

Nonetheless, some yoga poses could cause injury after surgery, depending on the type of surgery and the area affected. It is important to speak to your surgeon or physical therapist about movements or positions you should avoid before taking a yoga class. When you take a class, make sure to arrive early so that you can speak to the instructor and inform him or her about your condition and your specific needs. Restorative yoga is probably a good place for most spine patients to start, especially if they have never done yoga before. It is important to defer to your physician or physical therapist’s advice.