Non-Medication Methods of Pain Management

Patients can use alternative methods of pain relief besides medication following their surgery, but they have to be careful to avoid over exerting themselves. While these procedures are very minimally invasive when compared to other repair options, they still require careful attention in the days following. If you have elected to undergo a minimally invasive, but still surgical, form of spine treatment, the treatment protocol will include instructions to carefully abide by subsequent to the procedure as part of the plan to get you back on track.

Depending on the repair in the spine, patients should get explicitly individualized instructions from their doctor on what to do and what not to do with regards to exercise. You have to be careful with exercise while you are recovering and repairing a fragile, yet critically significant part of your body, though physical activity in proper doses is a crucial component of rebuilding stronger than you were before, which is the ultimate goal of undergoing any corrective procedure. 

Physically Active Methods of Pain Management

Exercise is not recommended immediately afterward. Immediately after the surgery has happened, the person has to heal. Afterward, people may get into exercise and strengthening. Trying to get back into regular activity too early could cause people to injure themselves even more. Some patients may be able to begin participating in physically active methods for pain management after seven days following their procedure. The patient is generally encouraged to walk as much as possible in the days immediately after the procedure takes place.

Recovering patients can do different types of exercising, such as swimming and stretching. The physician may recommend only a light walk and low-impact exercising, and to avoid any strenuous activities in the immediate zero to seven days after the procedure.


The patient is encouraged to walk as much as possible immediately after the procedure. Light walking activates the core without the dangers of significant impact, and is a great way to keep the body moving without requiring strenuous effort.


Stretching is fine, as long as the patient is aware of how far to push themselves when choosing how to stretch. In the immediate zero to seven days, all patients should take it easy and not do anything too strenuous.


In the immediate post-operative periods, the physician generally advises the patient to take it easy, do some light walking, and avoid swimming. Once recovery is off to a good start, swimming is a great way to stretch and strengthen without impact.


Yoga can mean a lot of different things and can be extremely strenuous exercise. Practicing yoga can be an excellent way to stretch and strengthen a recovering spine, but must be done with moderation very closely in mind so that the patient does not unintentionally exert themselves more than they are ready for.


People can try to toughen it out, but trying to see a physical therapist to reduce the pain in the immediate post-operate period is not an advisable option. Most people are in some discomfort and they will not even want to go see a therapist. There is not a lot that a therapist can do for somebody who has just had surgery and is experiencing pain.

They need the help of a therapist after the post-operative period when the basic healing and pain has subsided and they want to return to their normal function. That is when they should go to the therapist to strengthen and return to their regular function. It strengthens the back, the muscles, and the legs, therefore slowly returning back to what they were able to do prior to their injury.

What to Avoid

When the patient has any weakness in their arms or legs, they may not want to partake in certain physical activities that put them at risk of having a fall. Sometimes when individuals are taking narcotic medications, they can have balance issues. Patients want to be careful if they do anything that requires balance to take extra care to avoid falls.

Alternative Methods

The patient can use a back support if it is a lower-lumbar brace or use a TENS Unit, a small electrical machine that can help reduce muscle spasms. These are two very effective ways to treat pain without actually taking medications.