I have previously blogged specifically about sternal and hip precautions but only briefly mentioned spinal precautions. Every day, I get visitors to this blog looking for information regarding spinal precautions, so here they are:
- No Bending
- No Lifting
- No Twisting
The precautions, also known as BLT’s (for Bending, Lifting, Twisting) are usually in effect from anywhere between two and three months.
The bending will depend on where in the spine the surgery took place. If it was in the cervical spine, don’t bend your neck. If it was in your back, don’t bend your back.
One should not lift anything more than 5-10 lbs. after a spinal surgery. A gallon of milk is about 8 pounds (or 8.35 according to a patient of mine who was a firefighter), and is usually a good reference point as to the maximum you can lift.
Twisting is pretty straightforward. Don’t twist your back (or neck). The two areas people have trouble with this is when sitting down, one tends to twist and look to see where they are about to sit; and when wiping themselves after a bowel movement. Be careful!