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10 Post-Operative Exercises For Appendix

By Dr. Kundan Kharde +2 more

Appendicitis is an inflammation of the appendix, which is a finger-like pouch connected to the large intestine. The appendix is in the lower right quadrant of your abdomen or belly. A few simple exercises can significantly reduce the pain caused by appendicitis both before and after surgery. It is always advisable to speak with a surgeon before starting any exercise. 

What is appendicitis?

Appendicitis is a condition that causes the appendix to swell, become inflamed, and may even fill with pus. The appendix is a small finger-shaped organ connected to the large intestine on the right side of the abdomen. Its exact function is unknown and it is possible to live without one. Appendicitis usually occurs as a result of some sort of blockage that interferes with the flow of blood, thus resulting in swelling, pain, and infection. The appendix can rupture if not treated on time. Although appendicitis can affect anyone, it most commonly affects people between the ages of 10 and 30. The appendix is typically removed surgically when needed.


Symptoms

The most common symptom of appendicitis is abdominal pain, also known as belly pain. You may experience-

  • Pain near your belly button that works its way lower and to the right.
  • Pain that starts abruptly and may even wake you if you are sleeping.
  • Pain that worsens as you move, take deep breaths, cough, or sneeze.
  • Severe pain that may feel, unlike any pain you’ve ever experienced.
  • Pain that occurs before other symptoms and worsens within hours.

Other symptoms of appendicitis include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fever
  • Swelling in the abdomen

Some people who have appendicitis may also have bowel issues, such as

  • Inability to pass gas
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea

However, some people with appendicitis, particularly children, may not exhibit any of these typical symptoms. If you or your child is in pain or discomfort, contact your doctor right away. A doctor can assess your or your child’s symptoms and provide a diagnosis, as well as rule out other possible causes of complications.

Causes

Appendicitis can have multiple causes. In many cases, the root cause is unknown. Among the possible causes are

  • Hardened stool or growths that can obstruct the appendix’s opening.
  • Enlarged tissue/lymph nodes near the appendix wall are caused by an infection in the digestive tract or elsewhere in your body.
  • IBD (inflammatory bowel disease).

Anyone can get appendicitis. However, some people may be more prone to developing this condition than others. 

Appendicitis risk factors include:

  • Age: Appendicitis affects teenagers and those in their twenties. But it can happen at any age.
  • Sex: Males are more likely than females to develop appendicitis
  • Family history: People with a family history of appendicitis are more likely to develop it.

What are the complications of appendicitis?

Untreated appendicitis can lead to the rupture of your appendix. A ruptured appendix could cause complications. Peritonitis is a serious infection that can spread throughout your abdomen. Another possible complication is an appendiceal abscess, which is an abscess of the appendix.

The best exercises for people recovering after surgery for appendicitis

Appendicitis is a painful condition that usually appears out of nowhere. The best exercises for appendicitis are designed to help your body return to a healthy physical state and improve the range of motion in limbs that may have been affected due to your illness. If you have had surgery, gradually increasing your exercise regimen, particularly abdominal exercises, will help you gain strength without causing complications. Always speak to your doctor about the duration of rest and when to begin exercises post-surgery because one rule does not fit all.

1. Post-surgery bed exercises

If you recently had an appendectomy, you will most likely be in bed for an extended period. Before attempting any exercises while in bed, consult your doctor.If your doctor approves, begin with simple leg pumps and lifts to improve blood flow and circulation in the lower parts of your body. Furthermore, performing bed exercises can help reduce the likelihood of blood clots forming in your lower limbs. Perform these exercises every hour while lying in bed.

2. Go for short walks

It is usually safe to resume basic activities after 10 to 14 days of relative inactivity as you return to your normal life. Experts recommend starting a post-appendicitis exercise regimen with short walks. Be mindful of your walking form and posture during these walks and try to keep extra weight off your abdominal muscles. Stop walking as soon as you feel tired and avoid exercising for extended periods of time.

3. Gentle abdominal exercises

After a few weeks of rest, begin gentle strengthening exercises to rebuild your abdominal muscles. Begin by sitting on the edge of a bed with your feet hanging off the edge. Lift your legs up until they are parallel to the floor, keeping your back straight and core tight. Hold for a few seconds before slowly bringing your legs back to their original position. Repeat until you’re exhausted.

4. The pelvic tilt

Lie on your back and bend your knees. Rock your pelvis up and down, flattening your back into the bed or floor. Your ab muscles should tighten slightly. Return to the starting position and repeat. In the first few weeks after surgery, aim for five repetitions, 2-3 times per day. Allow your back to arch up a little more as you progress and tighten your abs even more as you push your back into the floor. Work your way up to 20 repetitions. For variations, you can lie on your back and bend your knees. Rock your pelvis up and down, flattening your back into the bed or floor. Hold this position for 15-30 seconds while taking deep breaths.

5. Heel slides

Lie flat on the floor or bed with your legs flat. Begin slowly sliding one heel toward your buttocks, keeping your heel on the floor or bed. Your knee will start to bend.

Continue to slide your heel and bend your knee until you feel discomfort and a small amount of pressure inside your knee. Hold this position for approximately 5 seconds. Return your heel to the floor or bed until your leg is straight. Aim for five repetitions on each side before switching. The most suitable time to start with the pelvic tilt is two to four weeks after the surgery. 

6. Knee roll

 Lie on your back and knees bent, arms out to the sides. Keep your knees and ankles together and gradually allow your knees to drop to one side. Tighten your ab muscles and roll your knees to the opposite side. Keep your shoulders down and your head relaxed while doing this exercise. In the first few weeks after surgery, aim for five repetitions, 2-3 times per day. You can gradually increase the range so that your knees drop lower and work up to 20 repetitions.

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7. Hip lift

For this exercise, lie on your back and bend your knees. Tilt your pelvis back gently and tighten your pelvic muscles. Lift your buttocks off the bed or the floor, vertebrae by vertebrae. Lift your buttocks as high as you can comfortably. Take deep breaths and hold this position for 5-10 seconds. Slowly return your spine and pelvis to their original positions. Aim for 3-5 repetitions at first, gradually increasing to 10-15 repetitions and lifting heavier as your recovery progresses. This exercise may be recommended after six to eight weeks after surgery.

8. Abdominal hollowing

This exercise may also be advised after the sixth week of surgery. Kneel on your hands and knees on the bed or the floor, keeping your back straight. Inhale deeply, gently tightening the muscles in your lower abdomen without arching your back. Hold this position for 5 seconds before slowly exhaling to relax the muscles.

9. Abdominal curl-ups

Lie on your back, knees bent, and feet flat on the floor or bed. Place one hand on each thigh while keeping your knees together. Slide your hands along your thighs towards your knees to lift your head and shoulders off the floor. Once you’ve found a comfortable position, hold it for 3-5 seconds. Return your head and shoulders to the floor slowly. Aim for five repetitions at first, gradually increasing to 10-15 repetitions and extending further as your recovery progresses.

10. Swimming and recovery

Swimming is a low-impact exercise that puts little strain on your joints while you exercise. Start with short laps after recovering from appendicitis, using a freestyle swim technique to reduce stress on your abdominal muscles. Stop swimming immediately if you feel tension or pain in your lower abdomen. As your strength returns, increase the number of laps you swim in the pool and vary your strokes. Before swimming, consult your surgeon to ensure that getting your incision wet is safe. This activity usually begins two to three weeks after surgery.

These exercises are designed to strengthen the abdominal and pelvic floor muscles. Strengthening the abdominal and pelvic muscles lowers the risk of complications like abdominal weakness and low back pain. It is recommended that you continue to do these exercises to avoid stiffness and pain. After your wounds have healed, gently stretch your abdomen in addition to exercising. This may assist you in regaining your everyday posture and avoiding tight scarring. Begin by lying flat on your back, then on your stomach, and finally on your stomach propped up on your elbows. Exercise and build your abdominal muscles with strength training, but only when your doctor says it is safe.

Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.

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