Exercise After Back Surgery and Stroke

Patient

Q: What exercises can I do to strengthen core muscles? I had surgery and fusion to correct lateral scoliosis and damage from arthritis. The day after surgery I had a stroke. My back muscles (long ones that run the entire length of the spine) cramp and hurt very bad after I stand or walk for more than 10 minutes. I can't use my right arm and hand, and the right foot is stiff. Because of this, I can't do anything on the floor or anything that requires use of the hand and arm, or anything that requires squatting. Please help me. I don't have medical insurance or money for therapy, etc.

Doctor

A:    Due to your multiple health issues you must be very careful choosing and combining an adequate exercise routine. I suggest emphasizing cardiovascular and respiratory exercises. A light cardiovascular conditioning can be achieved walking at your own pace 20 minutes three times a week. For the respiratory exercises I suggest that you see a respiratory therapist that can teach you a routine that you can easily follow. For the back surgery and stroke sequels, you will benefit of a physical therapy and occupational therapy program that teach you stretching /strengthening exercises and also control pain (if you are having some) with modalities like TENS, ultrasound, moist heat.

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