Hernia surgery is one of the most common forms of surgical procedure carried out in the US and the UK, but many people forget about one of the risks that it carries in relation to the chronic pain that can be experienced following surgery.
According to The Wall Street Journal, a US publication, over 30% of hernia surgery patients suffer from chronic pain that lasts for long periods after hernia surgery. This pain can mean restrictions in normal movement due to the fact that you may experience weakness in the abdomen leading to a bulge in the intestine or body fat after surgery has been done.
The muscles and nerves in the abdomen area will be weak and damaged after a hernia and even after surgery has been done to fix the problem, and this can cause pain and discomfort for some time after the hernia surgery. Many patients will have a mesh-type device inserted into the area to reinforce and strengthen the area where surgery has been completed, and this can irritate the area and can become infected.
Despite all of this, exercise after hernia surgery can help to strengthen the abdomen, although it is important to remember that heavy exercise can cause more damage, so it is very important to keep exercise light and to only increase the intensity of exercise after hernia surgery very slowly, as your body strengthens.
Experts and doctors recommend that exercise after hernia surgery should be gentle at first, and that the intensity of your exercise routine is increased only very slowly so that you are working with your body to prevent damage.
Some good exercises after hernia surgery include walking, which is very gentle on the body but gives a good cardiovascular workout that can help to strengthen the muscles and keep you fit, helping the body to repair any damage more quickly. Light stretching exercises are also good for keeping the abdomen in good shape and helping your body to heal from the surgery more quickly.
It is important to remember that you should eat healthily and have a diet with lots of fruit and vegetables and high in fiber which can help to keep the bowels moving more smoothly, preventing blockages that can put a strain on the gut. Also you should ensure that you drink plenty of fluids, as this helps to keep you hydrated while exercising and also helps with the flow of digestion in the body, easing the strain on your intestines.
Once 3-4 months have passed, you can do some small amounts of sit-ups and abdominal curls, but make sure that you inform your doctor of your intentions to start exercising and listen to your body. Start slowly by doing 5-10 sit-ups and abdominal curls a day, and gently and slowly increase this over time as you feel comfortable. Remember that if it hurts, or if you are finding it hard work, then stop as it’s your body’s way of saying ‘this is too much’.
When you have started to strengthen the abdomen with some light abdomen exercises, you can then start to do some light jogging to aid things and you should find that approximately 6 months after surgery, you are feeling much stronger and able to do more moderate exercise, but again, remember that you have had quite severe surgery and you still need to listen to your body and go with what it is telling you.
Whatever you do, don’t take things too fast or take on too much too soon. Lifting heavy weights (more than a kettle full of water) is a big no-no for 3-4 months after hernia surgery, as this can put strain on the abdomen and can lead to serious injury. Make sure that you ask for help with heavy lifting and don’t take the risk – it just isn’t worth it.
When moving the bowels on the toilet, avoid straining too hard and this can cause a build up of pressure in the intestines and this can lead to injury and damage. The same goes for exercise. If you’re doing exercise after hernia surgery that is too strenuous you could be putting too much pressure on the weak areas and this can cause long term damage.
Finally, don’t run or do anything too strenuous, as you can damage your weak areas and can end up tearing the wounds that remain weak for 3-4 months after surgery.