How to Sit After Back Surgery

how to sit after back surgery

After any kind of back surgery, it’s vital to maintain your posture and keep your back straight to aid recovery. Sitting down after significant surgery can be uncomfortable and cause a lot of pain. Maintaining your natural spinal curve will help take the pressure off your back and reduce the pain. Slouching and sliding down in a chair will put unnecessary pressure on your back, causing more pain and discomfort.

Following surgery, the best advice anyone can give is to listen to your doctor’s orders. They will provide you with advice on what you can and cannot do and for how long. However, there are a few tips and pieces of advice we want to share to allow you more comfort as you recover. For example, sitting can put a lot of pressure on the spine, so it’s important to sit correctly on your road to recovery to avoid further damage or unnecessary pain.

How to Sit After Spinal Surgery?

After surgery, your doctor may give you specific instructions on how long you can sit down in a chair before going for a walk around. How long you can sit for after spinal surgery will vary. For example, you may be asked to walk around or be active for 10 minutes after half an hour of sitting. The time allowed seated will slowly increase as you recover.

When seated, you should opt for a firm straight-back chair with armrests rather than a soft stuffed chair that may be low down and difficult to get out of. If you feel some extra padding is needed, you can always add pillows for additional support and comfort. Once seated, you should sit back as far as possible into the seat. Always keep your back and spine straight while sitting.

One of the most important rules to follow is to never sit with your knees higher than your hips. Likewise, you should never sit with your feet propped up, always have them flat on the floor with your knees bent.

To increase your comfort while sitting, the use of ergonomic back supports such as cushions, low back supports, and ergonomic chairs are recommended and can help you maintain a good position, posture and spinal alignment.

Getting up

When getting up, keep your back as straight as possible and slide yourself gently to the edge of the seat and use the armrests to help support yourself. Make sure your feet are shoulder-width apart, place one foot slightly ahead of the other and use your leg strength to stand. Keep your head up while standing to help keep your back straight. Be sure not to bend or twist as you raise yourself up to a standing position.


Some people recovering from back surgery also opt to sleep in a reclining chair because they find it more comfortable than getting in and out of bed.

Sitting in a reclining chair can also help ease pressure on your back. You should lower and lift yourself as you would with a regular high back chair before using any recline features to lower yourself. The reclined position will reduce the amount of stress on your back compared to an upright chair.

How to Sit on the Toilet after Back Surgery?

When nature calls, it’s best to sit on an elevated toilet seat or commode to avoid leaning over your legs while sitting on the toilet. In addition, you should wear your back brace for extra support while on the toilet. To get up, you should follow the above advice using your armrest on the raised seat or similar to pull you up then push down firmly with your legs.

As well as sitting on the toilet, you might be wondering how to poop after back surgery. Some pain medications can cause constipation which can add extra discomfort when you are already suffering from pain after your surgery.

Many patients find they need a fibre supplement to get things moving again and promote healthy bowel movements. In addition, regular activities, including gentle walking, can help promote blood flow and promote bowel movements. Eating a healthy diet with plenty of fibrous fruits and vegetables will also help soften stools and make going for a poop much easier.

How to Sit in a Car after Back Surgery?

Firstly, you should not ride in a car after spinal surgery until your physician has cleared it. After any type of back surgery, it is advisable to not go on any long car journeys where possible.

If you need to travel by car, you should follow the same guidance for sitting in other chairs and consider using a wedge-shaped cushion to help maintain a good posture. On the whole, you should reconsider any unnecessary road trips while recovering from surgery.

Follow these tips for safe car journeys after back surgery:

  • If you need to travel, break up the trip and stop every 30-45 minutes;
  • Stretch your legs when stopped or lie down flat to relieve pressure;
  • Use extra flat pillows for support;
  • Use the chair recline feature but only to the point where the seatbelt is still effective;
  • Stay hydrated and eat healthy foods.

What not to Do after a Spinal Infusion Surgery?

After back surgery, you mustn’t bend, or twist and you should avoid all types of lifting, anything over 10lbs that will put too much pressure on your recovering spine.

A spinal infusion is major surgery, and it’s important to avoid activities that could cause damage to the spine. In addition, avoid activities that put too much pressure on the spine, including:

In addition, you should drive after surgery for 2-4 weeks. After that, your doctor will advise you when it is safe to carry out these activities again.

By slowing down and being mindful of the movements when you sit down after back surgery or carry out any other activity, you can improve your chances of a full recovery.

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