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Lumbar Activities Booklet

Household Chores, Gardening, Snow Removal, Lawn Mowing, Sex

(Return to Table of Contents of Lumbar Activities Booklet)

Household Chores
Have someone else vacuum and change the bed linens for a period of two to three months after low back surgery and for three to four months after fusion surgery. These activities cause more back soreness than others. Light dusting and food preparation are okay. Washing and drying light loads of laundry are also acceptable. Limit ironing while standing to 15 minutes at a time.

Gardening should only be done after the eighth week postoperatively for low back patients and after twelve weeks for fusion patients. The ability to get down on your hands and knees is very important in gardening, and this puts significant stress on your recovering back. Be careful not to engage in prolonged bending at the waist while working in the garden at any time after back surgery. Approach shoveling with great care. Use small shovels and don't do a lot of active lifting and twisting with any garden tools.

Snow Removal
Be extremely careful not to do any snow shoveling after back surgery. The lifting, loading, and twisting activity is very dangerous to your back and can seriously aggravate it. Simply pushing light amounts of snow is okay. Consider using a snow blower or hiring outside help to remove snow.

Lawn Mowing
Low back patients may resume lawn mowing duties two months after their operation. Fusion patients should wait at least three months before mowing again. Self-propelled mowers with mulchers are preferable. If your mower has a grass catcher, empty it often with only light loads.

Engaging in sexual relations after back surgery is acceptable as long as it isn't painful. If you experience back pain during this activity, we advise moderation or waiting until it becomes more comfortable. A pamphlet with additional information is available through our office.


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