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Body Mechanics during Hysterectomy Recovery

From the Hysterectomy Recovery Articles List

Body Mechanics after hysterectomyWhat body movements are not okay after surgery?


Good body mechanics are important in every day life, but more so following surgery. During your recovery, you may find you will have to use your body differently to protect its tender, healing areas. If you aren’t careful in your efforts, you can strain other areas that aren't used to be being used in such a way.

If you overstress healing areas during your recovery, you risk delaying healing and/or creating complications. To avoid this, your surgeon may have given you a list of restrictions that prohibits lifting, twisting, bending, and exercising.

Getting In and Out of Bed

Getting in and out of bed could be a challenge. It may be best to sleep in a recliner initially, especially if you have a bed that is extra high or low. You will need to use your arm muscles more than your abdominal ones when you are sliding out of bed. Having someone to assist you can be helpful as well. Additionally, you could have someone place a straight kitchen chair by your bed side so you can use it similarly to the bed rails on your hospital bed. Remember to move slowly and gently, and stop if it hurts.

Vehicles

Getting in and out of vehicles may also be a bit tricky. Those that are too high or too low will be the most challenging. Go slowly, and try to avoid twisting too extensively. As a passenger, recline your seat slightly so you are not in a completely upright position.

Before you start driving, you will need to be able to get in and out of your vehicle, sit upright for the length of the drive, be able to turn to look over your shoulder, and handle all the motions involved with sudden stops. This may test your patience a bit, but it is worth it to hold off until you are completely ready. Be sure to consult with your doctor before you start driving.

Sitting

Sitting upright for too long can also be detrimental during recovery. It can put stress on your healing areas, including your vaginal cuff. It can also be very hard on your backside and lower back, which may be extra stressed right now from your position during surgery, your position when resting, extra lying down, and inactivity. Sitting too long could cause it to ache more as it tries to support your frame.

To avoid the extra stress to those areas, it would be best to avoid sitting for too long at a stretch. It would be better to rest in a reclined position. If you have returned to a desk job early, or must sit upright for extended periods for another reason, getting up and walking around every hour will help relieve some of the pressure and stress from your abdomen and back.

One more thing that you may not think about: be sure to look to be sure the toilet seat is down before sitting. Falling in that position could pose a problem for getting back up again. On that note, be wary of sitting in deeply cushioned furniture, too.

Lifting

In general, you shouldn’t lift anything heavier than a gallon of milk for at least six weeks. You also shouldn’t move heavy items with your legs or lower body. Moving furniture or boxes around with your legs can be just as harmful as lifting. Hopefully you can recruit help for these types of tasks. If not, it's best to leave them until you have fully recovered.

One more caution: walking your dog, even if it's small, can be just as harmful as lifting heavy objects during this time. All it takes is one squirrel to cause one unexpected pull on that leash and strain your healing areas. This would be especially worrisome if you are a good distance from home. If you have a small, well-trained, predictable dog, you might be alright as long as you stay very close to home. Overall, however, it would be better to wait until you are fully recovered.

Twisting and Stretching

Twisting quickly the wrong way can hurt, too. Try to be careful when twisting and turning as it can pull on muscles and healing areas. If you need to use these motions, do so slowly and gently.

Stretching can also hurt and pull on tender areas. Be careful with that first stretch in the morning, and ask others to reach objects on high shelves. Until your doctor gives the okay, you’ll also want to avoid yoga and similar exercise programs.

Bending

Bending at the waist after surgery could be painful, too. It can tense your abdominal muscles and put pressure on healing areas. Instead, try to bend at the knees or have others pick up anything you may have dropped.

Exercises

As you move into your recovery, you might want to ask your doctor about doing some exercises after your hysterectomy. If released to do so, some pelvic floor and trunk rotation exercises can be done gently during your recovery. In general, however, your best recovery exercise will be walking.


Listening to your body and your doctor will go a long way toward a healthy recovery. This is not the time be tough. Remember, you only have one chance to heal right the first time, so be gentle with your body as it heals.


This content was written by staff of HysterSisters.com by non-medical professionals based on discussions, resources and input from other patients for the purpose of patient-to-patient support.

11-23-2013 - 02:21 PM


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