Hi, welcome to my 2 part series on postoperative pain and its management with movements, food, breath, and sleep. If this interests you read on

In part one will be sharing my thoughts on moving more and reducing dependence on pain meds while being in the hospital.

Part 2 will focus on how to live pain-free after surgery and not carry on with the pain to make it chronic aka A part of your life.

So let’s get on with Part 1.

After the surgery

In this stage, you are still in the hospital under medical supervision. This is the time your physical therapist will visit you and encourage you to move the whole of you as in walking or stair climbing or parts of you as in turning in bed, rolling, or specific prescriptive exercises. The movement program is tailor-made to your needs. The idea is to help you move more and more of yourself and aid the body’s natural pain regulatory response. 

Few of those for you

Windmill in the bed

Lie on to one side whichever comfortable. Bend the top knee and hip and place the knee on a pillow in front. Stretch both the arms in the front at shoulder level or whatever level comfortable. Breathe in into the belly counting to 2 and lift the top arm up such that you do not rotate your torso. Breathe out through the nose and return to starting counting the same count or even double of comfortable. You can repeat it every hour 2 to 3 times. This improves your lung function, the movement of the diaphragm which is the main respiratory muscle, and the abdominals which are important for a good pain-free posture


Sit cross-legged or in a chair, breathe in and lift the arms up and outward. Breathe out, curl the spine and hug yourself gently. Repeat and breath count as above. 

Belly breathing – Can do this in any position like sitting, standing lying, or even moving. This helps in improving the diaphragmatic movement and the overall quality of breathing. The mindful practice of this activates parasympathetic and keeps stress breathing low. Choose any comfortable position. Keep the spine neutral and relax or drop the shoulders. Breathe in counting to 4 such that the abdominals move out. Keeping the same neutral breathe out gently counting to 8 pulling the navel gently to the spine. Repeat as comfortable. 

Chin tucks in lying

Lie on your back and can bend both knees slightly by placing a pillow under them. Place the neck of the head and neck on a pillow too. Breathe out and gently try to bring the chin to the chest keeping the shoulders and the ribs relaxed. You will feel some work at the back of the neck and head. Repeat it 2 to 3 times every hour. This activity strengthens the postural neck and shoulder blade muscles.

Ball of power

This activity is a modification of Foundation training work. Lie on the back such that the head and the mid back are rested on 1 to 2 pillows. Slightly cup the fingers and press the fingertips together like holding an imaginary ball in the palms. Breathe in and lift the arms up with the elbows bent gently. Keep the lower part of your ribs on the pillows. Lift it up to a point where you can keep the ribs back down. Repeat 2 to 3 times each hour.

All of these movements work on building your stabilizer groups and with breathing being in relaxation, better lung function, immunity, and pain relief… Signing off, for now, will be back soon with part 2 of this series… Till then take care and live pain-free

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