At-Home Exercises to do While Waiting for your Lumbar Spine Surgery to be Rescheduled

Orthopaedic & Spine Center
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Tom Toothaker, PT, DPT

As a Physical Therapist who works for the Orthopaedic & Spine Center, I help many patients build their strength and flexibility after Lumbar Spine Surgery. For those of you waiting for surgery, it’s been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If you’re feeling frustrated and disappointed, it’s understandable. Let’s use that built up negative energy to do something positive for yourself while you wait for your procedure. Take this time to do some at-home strengthening exercises to better prepare you for that upcoming lumbar spine surgery.

There are several reasons why you may need lumbar spine surgery and the exercises I recommend will be helpful for all conditions. Whether you have spinal stenosis, a bulging or herniated disc or have unstable vertebrae, these exercises will help you. Exercise is a proven pain reducer and mood enhancer, because of endorphins, the natural feel-good chemical that the brain releases when you exercise.

Walking is a great exercise, as we all know how, and it costs nothing to do. However, if you have a lumbar spine problem, walking can be uncomfortable and even painful. Instead of taking long walks, try short walks multiple times a day. If walking upright is painful, use a walker to lean upon. You can even walk beside a bike, using it for support.

Biking – if walking is painful, biking may be an option to consider. Again, you don’t have to ride 25 miles for this exercise to provide cardiovascular and strengthening benefits.  As with walking, you can take short rides, multiple times a day.

Pelvic Tilt Exercise – this is a great exercise for lower back issues.  It can be done lying flat or standing up. I’ll demonstrate how it’s done here in this short video clip. 


If forgetting to get on the bike, taking a walk or doing pelvic tilts is a problem, every time you think about sitting down in front of the TV with a snack, take a bike ride or walk instead. You may soon find that exercise is enjoyable, being outdoors makes you feel better, and it may just become a healthy habit that you keep for the rest of your life!


Make an appointment with Dr. Toothaker or another physical therapist by clicking the “Request Appointment” button below or by calling (757) 596-1900.