Activities to Avoid After Lumbar Spine Surgery

The lumbar spine as the lower part of the back 1. Lumbar spine surgery has several uses in the practice of neurosurgery 12. Any time an injury or disorder affects the lumbar area of the spine, a doctor may have to perform surgery to relieve pain and other symptoms 1. After the surgical procedure, patients need to avoid activities that could cause injury or pain.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.


Lumbar surgery patients cannot drive immediately after surgery. They must wait until the pain from the surgery has decreased from moderate to mild. This could take anywhere from seven to 14 days, according to the USC Center for Spine Surgery. The first time someone drives after lumbar spine surgery, she should take someone with her in case of a pain flare 1. Patients should also limit their first drives to short distances. Once you are comfortable driving with pain, you can increase the distance of each drive.

Twisting Motions

Patients should avoid twisting the spine to prevent injury after lumbar surgery 1. If you often twist in your sleep, place a pillow between your legs and on either side of your body to prevent this motion. Avoid hobbies that require twisting, such as gardening, until your physician clears you for physical activity.


Climbing puts strain on the lower back, making it necessary to avoid climbing during the lumbar surgery recovery period. This includes climbing stairs and performing climbing exercises. If you have to climb stairs to get to your bedroom, have someone help you during the first few days of your recovery. If you have a handrail, use it for extra support and balance.

Heavy Lifting

Spinal surgery patients should avoid heavy lifting while they recover. Your surgeon will tell you how much weight you can lift. The physicians of Yalamanchili Brain & Spine limit patients to lifting no more than 10 to 15 lbs. Patients should also avoid pulling and pushing heavy objects since these motions increase the risk of injury.


Patients recovering from lumbar surgery should not use the back to bend. Instead of bending with the back, bend with your knees and thigh muscles, as recommended by California Pacific Medical Center 3. Before coming home from the hospital, have someone prepare your living space by putting frequently-used items at waist level. This will prevent you from having to bend forward or backward during the recovery period. If you have high cabinets or countertops, have someone stay with you during the first few days of your recovery.