Is It Safe to Work Out With Spinal Cord Stimulation?

Is It Safe to Work Out With Spinal Cord Stimulation?

You might feel like you’ve tried just about everything for your back pain. If it hasn’t responded to lifestyle changes, medication, and injection-based treatment, you fortunately still have choices to explore. 

Specifically, with spinal cord stimulationDr. Jonathan D. Carlson can implant a small device that interrupts the pain signals coming from your back. If you’ve tried other options and haven’t found relief, don’t hesitate to visit Dr. Carlson and our team here at Hawai’i Pain and Spine on the Windward side of O Ľahu in Kailua. 

If Dr. Carlson recommends spinal cord stimulation, you probably want to know what to expect afterward. Let’s take a quick look at the process for getting this treatment and when you can get back to your normal daily activities, including working out. 

Finding the relief you need

To ensure spinal cord stimulation will work to deliver the right level of pain relief for you, Dr. Carlson starts with a temporary stimulator. You wear this for about a week as a trial. That way, you can ensure this treatment works for you before you move forward with implantation.

You wear your trial stimulator outside your body and will need to limit your activity with it. Dr. Carlson generally recommends light activities like walking, for example, but you shouldn’t do anything overly strenuous. You also can’t get the temporary stimulator wet, so swimming is temporarily off the table. 

If you see a notable reduction in your pain levels during the trial period, Dr. Calrson moves forward with the permanent (albeit removable) implant. Getting that implantable pulse generator (IPG) is an outpatient procedure, which means you can go home the same day. 

Easing back into exercise

For the first few days after your procedure, plan to take it easy so your incisions can heal. You might have some soreness or swelling, but this should fade quickly.

Within a few days, most people start to get used to their implants. Dr. Carlson will recommend activity based on your specific recovery journey, but most people get back to light options after those first few days. In fact, even a day or two after your procedure, Dr. Carlson might recommend walking to support your healing process and your adjustment to the stimulator. 

Within a couple of weeks, you should be able to start ramping up your activity levels. Once your incisions fully heal (usually after 2-4 weeks), you can even return to water-based activities like swimming or surfing. 

Dr. Carlson works with you, scaling up your exercise recommendation as your body is ready for it. Most people can return to their favorite ways to work out within a month of getting a spinal cord stimulator. 

For some people, the pain relief the stimulator provides enables a whole new world of exercise. People even lift weights and run marathons with spinal cord stimulation. 

To learn more about this back pain relief option and how it can integrate into your lifestyle, call our office to schedule an appointment with Dr. Carlson today.

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