Since any surgical site will heal with scar tissue, some surgeons feel that to minimize scarring of the nerve root, gentle stretching exercises should be done in the early postoperative period.

The stretching exercises should be done about 5 to 6 times a day for 6 to 12 weeks, since this is the time period in which the scarring occurs.


The safest way to stretch is to lie down and maximally flex the hips and gradually extend the knee. This maneuver will also stretch the hamstring muscles, which is important for rehabilitation of the back.

It is generally advisable to do the stretching exercises frequently and gently. Stretching too hard may result in pain, and one should only take the stretch to the point of pain, and not beyond, to avoid inflaming the nerve.

If a patient feels too much pain after surgery to do any stretching exercises, it would be wise to wait until he or she is more comfortable.