Tom Willemann Health Tips

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Early Exercise = Speedy Healing After Disc Surgery

 Lumbar SpineIf you have had a microdiscectomy— disc surgery to alleviate sciatica, or sciatic nerve pain caused by a herniated disc—a postoperative regimen that includes early exercise can help speed your return to a normal, active life.
In the past, patients were advised to limit their movements for up to six weeks after microdiscectomy surgery to avoid reinjury. However, the thinking on this has changed in recent years. Experts now suggest that introducing an appropriate early exercise program that includes stretching, strengthening and conditioning may help patients heal sooner and minimize formation of scar tissue.
Generally, patients are advised to exercise for a total of one hour each day, usually in shorter segments of time rather than all at once. A therapeutic exercise program often includes walking, usually beginning within the first two to four days after returning home. Most patients start by walking a short distance each day, gradually increasing to about three miles daily.
Let pain be our guide. You should expect to feel some discomfort after an exercise session, especially in the leg or buttocks. This can be relieved with over-the-counter analgesics and an ice pack. However, if the pain is strong, we will reduce the intensity of exercise until you can handle it better.
You can probably resume most of your day-to-day activities, but avoid the common causes of disc herniation:

  • heavy lifting


  • repetitive bending or twisting


  • prolonged sitting or driving

We can provide you with guidance for a long-term “spine” health program that includes good posture and proper body mechanics (how to bend, lift, etc.). A program that includes stretching, strengthening and aerobic exercises can help get and keep your back in good health.  Lastly, you should have clear communication with your surgeon regarding any precautions after your spine surgery.  
 Apex Orthopedic Rehabilitation in Wyckoff, NJ provides orthopedic and sports physical therapy services for the greater Ridgewood, Wyckoff, and Bergen County region.  This blog is intended for informational purposes only and should not be used for diagnostic or prescriptive purposes. The views expressed here are the author’s views and should be taken as suggestions. Always consult your doctor or healthcare practitioner before engaging in a physical therapy or rehabilitative program.


Tom Willemann

Tom Willemann

Tom Willemann is a premier physical therapist based out of Bergen County, New Jersey. He holds an MS in physical therapy from the University of Miami, is credentialed in the world-renowned McKenzie Method of Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy (MDT), and holds an OCS (Orthopedic Clinical Specialist) certification. As of 2018, there are approximately 14,000 ABPTS certified specialists in the nation and less than 400 of them are located in the state of New Jersey. Tom is the owner and director of Apex Orthopedic Rehabilitation in Paramus. He opened the clinic, which specializes in spine and sports injury prevention, in 2004 after many years of experience in the field. Tom’s caring interest in others and his strong belief in continuity of care, combined with his clinic’s ability to find solutions for the most difficult orthopedic problems, have earned Apex Orthopedic Rehabilitation its excellent reputation with patients and medical professionals in northeastern New Jersey and beyond. A true “family man,” Tom takes pride in his clinic’s warm and welcoming environment.
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