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Best Ways to Sit Following a Discectomy


Sitting is not normally problematic, since it is a natural and necessary daily activity. However, it does become an action to be concerned about to some extent if you have recently had a discectomy or a less invasive microdiscectomy to resolve spinal disc pain. Patients who have discectomies, which are among the most common back surgery procedures, are usually able to go to and from a seated position post-surgery without any significant issues as long as some precautions are taken. This article offers suggestions for how to sit comfortably and safely after having discectomy surgery.

Watch Your Sitting Posture

Ease the stress on your healing spine and the discs in the affected area by paying attention to how you are sitting. Regardless of whether you are getting ready to enjoy a meal or simply looking to relax and unwind, maintain good post-discectomy sitting posture by:

• Not leaning too far forward, especially when using handheld devices
• Sitting up straight and not leaning excessively
• Keeping your hips higher than your knees as you sit
• Sitting in a way that balances your body weight

Adjust Your Chair while Working

When you will need to sit for longer stretches of time, such as when you are working, be mindful of how your chair is set up. Your preferred office/work chair should be elevated enough so your feet comfortably touch the floor. It should also be adjusted so you do not need to excessively twist, reach, or turn to reach what you need to use as you work.

Do Not Sit for Too Long

When possible, avoid overstressing your spine after discectomy or microdiscectomy surgery by taking breaks to get up and stretch. If you need a gentle reminder, use your phone to give you alerts every 20–30 minutes or so. Taking a few minutes to walk around and stretch after sitting for a while also increases circulation.

Use a Lumbar Support Cushion

If your discectomy was performed on the lower portion of your spine, you may experience slight discomfort as you heal and recover. Make sitting more comfortable by using a specially designed cushion. Some lumbar support cushions have a wide lower portion and a narrow top, while others are wider from side to side or strategically designed to ease direct spine pressure.

Try a Reclining Chair

A reclining position is naturally easier on the lower back, which is the most common place for disc surgery. If you are having some difficulty early in your
discectomy recovery with standard chairs at home, try relaxing in a chair that reclines. Experiment with the extent of the reclining position to find a spot that feels good for your back.

Make an Effort to Strengthen Spine-Supporting Muscles

For times when you are not sitting after a discectomy, follow your doctor's guidance on post-surgery exercise. This is related to sitting, since stronger spine-supporting muscles ease pressure on the backbone and its discs when sitting. At home, gentler forms of exercise like yoga can also be beneficial for this purpose, but check with your doctor first.

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 reinjure themselves by having what is known as reherniations. These 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 time frame. 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 844-288-7474.

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