Post-operative Exercises DIEP Reconstruction
- Check that your posture is returning to normal, from stooped to upright.
- Check that your shoulder movements are returning to pre-op’ range of motion.
- Recover the tone and strength in your tummy muscles.
- Abdominal muscle strength helps to keep your back healthy.
- Tummy muscles can be ‘switched off’ by pain.
Good Posture – Stand Tall
Imagine a piece of string Is attached to the crown of your head and is lifting you up.
Good Posture – Sit tall, avoid slumping or overstretching
- Sideways and up
- Forwards and up
- Behind your neck
- Behind your back
- Across to your opposite shoulder
1. Switch on Your Tummy Muscles
- Lie on your back, hands on tummy, knees bent, feet resting on floor, legs hip width apart.
- ‘Long’ neck and back but keep the natural curve in your low back.
- Breathe in slowly and deeply.
- Breathing out, let your tummy button sink towards your spine without flattening or changing the position of your low back.
- Gently tighten your muscles below your tummy button, hold the tension for five seconds and continue breathing.
- Aim for 5-10 of these contractions several times a day.
- Concentrate on contracting the muscles below your belly button during each breath out.
2. Tummy Toning Exercises
- Lie on your back, knees bent, feet on floor, arms by your side.
- Tighten your tummy muscles as in exercise1.
- Press the small of your back against the floor.
- Hold the position for 5 seconds, let go.
3. Heel slide
- Lie on the floor with knees bent, arms by your sides.
- Hold your tummy in, as in exercise 1.
- Keep one leg stationary.
- Slowly slide the opposite leg out until it’s straight with the floor.
- Slide it back in to the starting position.
- Alternate, extending the other leg out and then back.
- Keep the natural curve of your spine without flattening your back.
- Contracting your abdominal muscles helps to keep your pelvis still whilst your leg moves and your lower tummy muscles work.
- This helps train your tummy muscles to support your spine.
4. Single leg extension
- Lie on the floor with knees bent and arms at your sides.
- Tighten your tummy in as in exercise 1.
- Raise one leg to ‘table top’ position (knees bent in line with hip, shin parallel to the floor).
- Slowly stretch the lifted leg out without arching your back.
- Return your leg to table top position.
- Bring your foot back down to the starting position.
- Switch sides.
- Progress with this until you can extend the leg out and hover it about 2-3 inches above the floor
- Work up to five repetitions on each side without stopping.
- Build to 20 "hovering" repetitions or more on each side without allowing your back or spine to move.
5. Heel Taps
- Lie on the floor, tighten your tummy muscles as in exercise 1. and bring your legs up one at a time to ‘table top’ position
(knees bent and over hips, shins parallel to floor).
- Keep one leg stationary, slowly lower other foot down to the floor (keeping knee bent) and back up to table top.
- Keep your low back and spine still throughout.
- Repeat on the opposite side.
6. Knee Rolling
- On your back, knees bent, feet on the floor.
- Roll your knees down to on one side, followed by your pelvis, keep your shoulders on the floor if possible.
- Take a deep breath in and out to stretch, return to the starting point.
- Alternate 8 to 10 times.
- Lie flat on the floor, hands resting by your sides. Feet flat on the floor, shoulder width apart, knees bent.
- Contract your abdominals, low back, glutes and slowly lift from tailbone up to form a straight line from your knees, through your hips to your shoulders.
- Hold this position for a few seconds, then slowly lower. The whole cycle of lift, hold and lower takes at least ten seconds.
- Lie on the floor face down. Put your hands at your sides at shoulder level.
- Keep your back relaxed hips on the floor, push shoulders up, to rest on your forearms.
- Exhale when you reach the top, let your mid back sag as you exhale.
- Slowly lower yourself to the starting position.
- Push only to the point of tension, maintain your hips on the floor.
- Don’t push into pain, bounce, or force the movement.
- You should have a gentle curve in your back as you push up,
- No severe curvatures in one location.
These exercises have been developed in partnership with Keeping Abreast.