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Can You Cross Your Legs after Discectomy?


12.15 - Can You Cross Your Legs after Discectomy-min
If you have had a discectomy, you may wonder if you can cross your legs after the surgery. Crossing your legs is a common habit that many people do unconsciously, especially when sitting for a long time. However, crossing your legs after discectomy may not be a good idea, as it can affect your recovery and cause some complications. This article will explain why you should avoid crossing your legs after discectomy and what you can do instead to keep your legs comfortable and healthy.

Why You May Need to Avoid Crossing Your Legs after Discectomy

A discectomy is surgery to remove part or all of a disc in your spine that is pressing on a nerve and causing pain. The surgery can relieve symptoms of a herniated disc, such as numbness, tingling, weakness, or sciatica. However, the surgery also involves cutting through surrounding tissue, which can cause some inflammation and bleeding in the area.

Crossing your legs after discectomy can interfere with the healing process and cause some problems, such as:

  • Increased pressure on your spine – Crossing your legs can change the alignment of your spine and put more pressure on the surgical site. This can cause more pain, swelling, and inflammation, delaying your recovery. It can also increase the risk of reherniation, which is when the disc material leaks out again and compresses the nerve.
  • Reduced blood flow to your legs – Crossing your legs can constrict your blood vessels and reduce the blood flow to your legs. This can cause you to feel cold, numbness, or tingling in your legs and increase the risk of blood clots. Blood clots are dangerous because they can travel to your lungs and cause a pulmonary embolism, which is a life-threatening condition.
  • Impaired nerve function – Crossing your legs can also compress your nerves and affect their function. This can worsen your symptoms of nerve damage, such as pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness in your legs. It can also prevent your nerves from regenerating and healing properly.

The ability to cross your legs post-discectomy is often a matter of timing. In the initial stages of recovery, when the surgical site is still healing, it is advisable to avoid any movement that may strain the spine. As time progresses and your healthcare provider gives the green light, you may be able to start gently crossing your legs.

Every individual's recovery is unique. Paying attention to your body's signals is crucial. If crossing your legs causes discomfort or pain, it is essential to refrain from the action and communicate this to your healthcare provider.

What You Can Do Instead of Crossing Your Legs 

To avoid the complications of crossing your legs after discectomy, you should follow these tips:

  • Keep your legs uncrossed – The best way to prevent the problems of crossing your legs is to simply avoid doing it. Try to keep your legs uncrossed and parallel to each other when sitting or lying down. You can use a pillow or a footrest to support your legs and keep them elevated. This can reduce the pressure on your spine and improve the blood flow to your legs.
  • Move your legs regularly – Another way to prevent the problems of crossing your legs is to move your legs regularly. You should not sit or lie down for too long, as this can cause your blood to pool and clot in your legs. You should get up and walk around every hour or so or do some gentle exercises, such as ankle pumps, toe curls, or leg lifts. This can stimulate your blood circulation and prevent your legs from getting stiff or sore.
  • Strengthen your core muscles – Engaging in targeted exercises to strengthen core muscles can provide support to the spine so you can start crossing your legs earlier. Consult with a physical therapist to develop a personalized exercise routine that aligns with your recovery goals.
  • Focus on gradual progression – Consider crossing your legs as part of a gradual progression in your rehabilitation journey. Start with gentle stretches and movements, gradually increasing intensity as your body adjusts. This incremental approach can prevent unnecessary strain and minimize the risk of complications.
  • Follow your doctor's instructions – The most important thing to do after discectomy is to follow your doctor's instructions. Your doctor will give you specific guidelines on how to care for your wound, manage your pain, prevent infection, and resume your activities. You should follow these instructions carefully and report any problems or concerns to your doctor. You should also attend your follow-up appointments and physical therapy sessions, as these can help you recover faster and better.

In the aftermath of discectomy, the question of whether you can cross your legs is a valid concern. However, the answer is nuanced and depends on various factors. By consulting with your healthcare provider, adhering to a well-structured rehabilitation plan, and listening to your body, you can navigate the post-discectomy landscape with confidence. Remember, the goal is not only to regain mobility but also to embrace a lifestyle that prioritizes comfort, health, and long-term wellbeing.

Even though discectomy surgery is a common and generally quite successful procedure, a hole is frequently left in the outer wall of the disc. In fact, patients with these large holes in their discs are more than twice as likely to reherniate.Reherniations often require additional surgery or even fusions. Fortunately, there is a new treatment specifically designed to close the large holes that are often left in spinal discs after discectomy surgery. Barricaid is a bone-anchored device proven to reduce reherniations, and 95 percent of Barricaid patients did not undergo a reoperation due to reherniation in a 2-year study timeframe. This treatment is done immediately following the discectomy—during the same operation—and does not require any additional incisions or time in the hospital. 

If you have any questions about the Barricaid treatment or how to get access to Barricaid, ask your doctor or contact us at 844-705-1081.

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