Staying Active After Epidural Steroid Injections

March 26, 2015 4:46 pm

Keeping Active

No Extended Bed Rest

When you are experiencing chronic back pain, it is easy to want to crawl into a ball and wait until the pain, hopefully, somewhat subsides. However, previous studies have proven that back pain could be reduced between 10% to 50% while a person stays active. If you stay sedentary for more an extended period, it can actually undermine your progress.

After Your Treatment

Your exercises are completely based on your diagnoses and the procedures you undergo to combat the pain. One prominently used, non-surgical method is epidural steroid injections. The steroid is injected into the epidural space and decreases inflammation around the spinal nerves. If you are undergoing epidural steroid injections, you will want to take the rest day off for a little downtime to not cause unnecessary inflammation. After your brief resting period, you will want to resume normal, but not overly vigorous activity. It is best to start with walking slowly. For every 30 minute sitting period, you should take 5 to 10 minutes to get up and walk around. It may be uncomfortable at first, but if you stick with regular slow activity for the first day, you can build up to more activity.

Getting Back in the Game

If you are ready to get back into regular exercise, it is best to start with a few beginner moves to not strain your back and put your rehabilitation in jeopardy.

It is important to resume your household activities such as vacuuming, lifting, gardening and swimming. If you are setting aside time to workout it should be a balance between a combination of stretching, strengthening, and low-impact aerobic conditioning. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons suggests a series of ankle pumps and wall squats to help back-pain sufferers.

For ankle pumps: lie flat on your back with your legs stretched in front of you and press the ankles to the floor and then towards you.

Ankle Pumps Exercise

Credit: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

For a wall squats: press your back against your wall while placing your feet about 12 inches away from the wall. Enter into a squat. Hold the pose for five seconds and straighten the knees.

Wall Squats

Credit: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

Take it Slow

It is of utmost importance that you practice these activities safely and not push yourself beyond what your body can handle. If any of these activities increase your pain – do NOT continue. If you have any questions about staying active after the epidural steroid injections or the potential side effects, contact our physicians. We are here to help your pain!