Washing at the Sink

While standing at the sink keep your back in neutral position and bend your knees and hips.


To avoid arching your back, use a hand-held shower to wash your hair or bend at the knees and hips under the shower head. Use a long-handled scrub brush to avoid bending. Use liquid soap to avoid having to pick up a bar of soap from the floor.

Working in the Kitchen

Store food and any items you use often on the counters or the middle shelves of the refrigerator.


At first, avoid sitting as much as possible. Sitting puts more pressure
on your spine than lying or standing. As your back heals, you can sit for longer periods of time.

Driving or Riding in a Car

You will be cleared for driving explicitly by your surgeon.  When cleared for driving, adjust the seat so that your knees are level with or just below your hips. To get out of the car, pivot on your buttocks and swing your legs out, keeping your knees together. Don’t twist your spine. Use your leg muscles to stand. To get into the car, do the reverse.

Doing Desk Work

Ask your physical therapist how to arrange your desk and workspace to protect your back whenever you are ready to return to work.


Slide your chair as far under the table as possible. Don’t lean
forward or put your elbows on the table.

Using the Toilet

Try using a toilet seat riser or portable commode. You can buy these at a drugstore or medical supply store.

Bending and Lifting

The first weeks after surgery, avoid bending and lifting as much as possible. If you are not sure whether a task if safe to do or not, ask for help. You’ll learn safer ways to bend, learn the proper way to
lift and find exercises to stretch your legs, so that you can use them to lift instead of using your back.

Grocery Shopping

Purchase small amounts of groceries each time. Ask the checker to bag lightly and to use bags with handles. Put the shopping bags on the car seat, not in the trunk or on the floor. Ask for help taking the groceries to your vehicle.

Child Care

If you have small children, arrange for help while you’re still recovering.
Put the changing table on a raised surface, or adjust it to waist height.
If you must lift a baby from a crib, lower the railing of the crib.
Bring the child close to your body. Follow the lifting instructions.

Pushing and Pulling

Pulling is harder on your spine than pushing. So whenever possible, push, don’t pull. Also, avoid pushing anything heavy. The best thing to do is ask for help until you are comfortable with your daily activities.