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Simple but really useful advice

Shell2ySShell2y Posts: 80
edited 11/15/2012 - 9:58 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi. Just thought I'd share some advice I had from the physio yesterday on my first visit post the 6 week mark. One of the things I am having which I think is fairly common is lots of muscle spasms around my lumbar fusion. One of the things that she said was probably exacerbating this is that I am apparently being incredibly tense in my shoulders and upper back muscles in an unconscious action to protect my lower back, particularly when I walk or am sitting is a new chair, and even more so when i start to have a lumbar muscle spasm. But this makes the other muscles more likely to tense and spasm. So it's one of the things I need to be aware of and work on on, and now I think about it I do notice how I am tensing my neck and chest all the time, and breathing deeply and consciously relaxing those areas does seem to help. The other things I had from her was a toiletting lesson, again on the basis that constipation is a normal post surgery problem but its often exacerbated by the fact that many people, particularly women, don't have the most effective posture on the toilet seat and, particularly when pain is an issue, often do not use their muscles in the most effective way. While sitting lean forward from the hips, not curving back, and put ideally elbows but hand ok if like me that's all you can do on your knees. While pushing tummy muscles should push the tummy out, not tense up while pushing and suck in the stomach which also inadvertently tenses the sphincter muscles at the same time. She even gave me a poster to stick n the toilet door - much to my daughters mirth. For me though all this has been really simple common sense advice which I am going to try and follow, so I thought I'd share.


  • jmhar68jjmhar68 Posts: 60
    edited 11/15/2012 - 3:06 PM
    Good info Shell2y. I thought I would mention "milk of magnesia" as an acceptable way to get things moving without the pain caused by straining. It may take a day or two, but no cramps, no forced action. I cannot believe I am talking about this publicly but it really helps, especially right after surgery when things just won't move.
  • Yep - know what you mean - I did think I was beyond toilet training but what do you know.......
  • Midwest galMMidwest gal Posts: 28
    edited 11/16/2012 - 6:07 AM
    I have used Miralax every evening for about 6 months and that works well for me...
  • A couple of years ago I read a suggestion for making bathroom time easier. Before indoor potties, people squatted to go. The act of squatting actually straightens out your colon and makes elimination easier. Since squatting would be difficult, it was recommended that a step stool be use to elevate your feet. Don't laugh, it works. I have been using a step stool for a couple of years now. Enough of this moving post.
    4 level ACDF completed on January 3rd.
    I developed an infection which required reopening the wound on January17th
    Looking forward to life without as much pain!
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