Can You Resume Physical Activity After Receiving a Spinal Cord Stimulator?
Your journey toward a more active lifestyle after receiving a spinal cord stimulator can be both exhilarating and daunting. For those who have lived with chronic pain, the introduction of a spinal cord stimulator is a significant milestone. This device, which is surgically implanted to alleviate pain, paves the way to reclaim activities once hindered by discomfort.
What Is Spinal Cord Stimulation?
Spinal cord stimulation involves implanting thin wires and a pacemaker-like battery near the buttocks or abdomen. These wires, placed in the epidural space near the spinal cord, and the battery work together to deliver electrical impulses controlled by an external remote. This technique can directly impact various muscle groups and change pain perception in the brain. Traditional stimulators create a tingling sensation, while newer models provide imperceptible stimulation.
Initiating Physical Activity With a Spinal Cord Stimulator
Once the device is in place, the urge to dive back into an active routine is natural. However, patience is key. Initially, avoiding strenuous activities like bending, lifting, and stretching is crucial for healing. Light exercises, such as walking, are encouraged to build strength. This slow, steady approach ensures both the patient’s safety and the integrity of the device.
A typical exercise after spinal cord stimulator implantation plan might look like this:
- In the first week, engage in basic trunk stabilization exercises to strengthen core muscles. Safe home exercises can include mini squats and stepping exercises.
- From the second to the fifth week, gradually include lower extremity and gentle upper body exercises.
- By the sixth to eighth week, non-cardiovascular pool exercises can be added for enhanced core strength and conditioning.
- Post-eight weeks, patients may gradually return to work after spinal cord stimulator implantation and resume regular recreational activities, maintaining a consistent exercise regimen.
High-impact activities like jogging or sports might be restricted to prevent lead displacement.
Living With Restrictions
Living with a spinal cord stimulator in Chicago or elsewhere comes with certain restrictions for the safety of the wearer and the protection of the device. For instance, turning off the stimulator while driving or operating heavy machinery is advised to avoid distraction. Also, special care should be taken during medical procedures like X-rays and MRIs.
Consulting With a Spine Specialist
At Gateway Spine & Pain Physicians, our spine specialists are here to offer personalized guidance and support, helping you understand the dos and don’ts with a spinal cord stimulator. Let us assist you in safely returning to an active lifestyle and embracing a future with less pain and an enhanced quality of life. Contact us now for expert care tailored to your unique needs.