Best PT Exercises Following an L/S Laminectomy

After any form of surgery, you need some physical therapy to get back to shape. Surgery can alter your body somehow, and physical therapy gets your body back. When you’re in constant lower back pain, you need a laminectomy. 

Since this is a major surgery, you need the right PT to help you get back into shape. You can read below to see the best PT exercises following an L/S laminectomy.

What is a Laminectomy?

It is a surgical procedure involving the removal of the lamina, a bone on the posterior arch of the vertebrae (small bones of the spine). The idea is to enlarge the spinal canal to reduce pressure on the spinal cord. It commonly treats back pain.  

Why You Need the Surgery

This is completed when pressure is placed on the nerve roots from conditions such as disc herniation, osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis, and other degenerative conditions such as bone spurs. Born spurs can be inherited or can be a result of aging. 

The surgery serves to decompress the related nerve roots and relieve pain symptoms; an expert may also do this in conjunction with fusions and discectomy. Surgery is only an option when all other conservative ideas like physical therapy, injection, and medication have failed. Sometimes, a laminectomy is only an option when symptoms worsen.

Preparing for the Surgery

Generally, the doctor should give you instructions on what medications you can and can’t take before surgery for your lower back pain. But it would help if you avoided eating and drinking a few hours before surgery. 

Where Does Physical Therapy Come in?

Physical therapy and rehab following any lower back surgery are critical. Surgery serves to improve flexibility and strength and increase function. The process involves a PT evaluation and POC prescription, which can include surgical restrictions from the physician. Usual progression may vary but evolves over several months of well-thought-out exercises. It isn’t all about going to a field and running yourself to the ground. 

Best Exercises to Treat an L/S Laminectomy

  • (Stretching 15-second holds for five reps; other exercises two sets of 10 reps) Single knee to chest (SKC) stretch and seated hamstring stretch. The concept is to strengthen the abdomen and core.
  • Physioball rollouts forward and lateral lower trunk rotations (LTR).
  • Posterior pelvic tilts (PPT) – this is also known as the superman exercise and will help correct your posture. Here, you’ll be rotating your pelvis backward. Lay down on your stomach, with your arms stretched in front, then lift one at a time two inches off the floor. 
    You then hold them up for two seconds before lowering them, then lift your legs one at a time, holding them up for a few seconds before dropping them.
  • Hip abduction with TB
  • Hip adduction with ball/pillow
  • Recumbent bike/gentle ambulation for endurance – a stationary bike is the best option as it will improve blood circulation and strengthen the heart when you regularly bike for 20-30 minutes.
  • Heel slides – this exercise helps you stretch your nerves and rehabilitate your body.
  • Ankle pumps – another nerve stretch that helps improve blood flow to your heart. It involves using your calves; lie flat back and move your ankles up and down for at least 10 minutes.

Suppose laminectomy is done with other elements of the surgery, such as a spinal fusion and discectomy; exercise prescription may vary, and you may need to get in touch with professionals to help you create a plan. 

Lumbar laminectomy for spinal stenosis can be hard to rehabilitate, and working with professionals can help. You can call Cawley Physical Therapy and Rehab at 570-208-2787 for more information and to schedule an evaluation.