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St. Vincent's Medical Center, Bridgeport CT

Do's and Don'ts

Surgery at St. Vincent's Medical Center, Bridgeport CT

Getting In And Out Of Bed

(once advised by physician)

To get out of bed, bend your knees and roll to the side as one unit without twisting your body. As you drop your legs off the bed, push your body up with your arms while keeping your back straight until you are upright.

To get into bed, sit as far back onto the bed as you can. Keep your trunk erect and use your arms to lower yourself onto your side as you bring both bent legs up. Roll onto your back as one unit without twisting.

Walking

  • Walking is excellent exercise. Walk daily, setting a pace and distance that is comfortable for you. Try to walk short distances, but walk more often each day.
  • Walking on stairs and inclines should be kept to a minimum. While on the stairs, use the railing, tighten your stomach muscles as you step up, keep your back straight, and go up one stair at a time only. As you come down the stairs, lead with the weaker leg first.

REMEMBER: Respect early signs of physical stress/damage by stopping to rest if symptom signs occur. 

Sitting

  • The sitting position is stressful to the back and you should limit how much time you spend sitting. Check with your physician as to when you can begin sitting and how much is OK for you. Here are some helpful hints:
  • Bend your knees to sit, keeping your back straight and eyes straight ahead. Place your hands on the armrests to help lower yourself into the seat. Try not to bend forward from your waist when sitting or rising from your chair.
  • To stand, move to the front of the chair, with your back straight and your eyes ahead. Straighten your knees and move your hands on the armrests to rise.
  • Maintain good posture when sitting, sit in a chair with your back straight, thighs supported and parallel to the ground. Please avoid slouching.
  • When you have worked up to sitting for extended periods of time, change your sitting position as needed. Interrupt periods of sitting with standing and walking. Sitting for long periods of time is stressful to your back. Try to limit sitting to 20-30 minutes at a time.
  • Avoid slouching and avoid soft chairs or couches.
  • Keep reading material at eye level. Use a book holder angled toward your eyes or hold your reading material above the desk.
  • When putting on socks or stockings, sit straight and put one foot on the opposite knee. 

Miscellaneous

  • Avoid twisting. To turn, move your feet so that your entire body turns as a whole, being careful not to bend at your waist.
  • Avoid reaching overhead (above shoulder level) as this tends to arch your back.
  • Do not lift heavy objects. If you must lift, plan how to move/lift objects before you do it.
  • Move your feet apart, keep your back straight, tighten your stomach muscles, keep your eyes level (looking ahead), and bend your knees. Place the object as close to your trunk as possible. Straighten your knees to stand while you maintain a straight back, eyes looking directly ahead.
  • Avoid bending from the waist with your knees locked. Try to avoid lifting until your physician says it is ok.
  • Push, do not pull.
  • Avoid opening windows, mowing lawns, moving furniture, carrying groceries, picking up children, vacuuming or driving until cleared by your physician.
  • Divide strenuous jobs into smaller tasks spaced apart to allow for rests or alternate activities.
  • When you brush your teeth or shave at the sink, bend your knees and hips, and keep your back straight. Brace yourself by placing one hand on the sink or use a step stool.

Final Note:
Consult your physician if in doubt and at the early signs of pain to prevent more serious damage.

St. Vincent's Medicial Center: Surgical expertise when you need it most.

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To find a St. Vincent’s physician who can discuss your health concerns or those of a loved one, please click on our FIND A DOCTOR tool and search by specialty, practice, location or keyword. We’re here to help you locate the medical expert you need.

To speak with a St. Vincent's Care Line representative, call (877) 255-7847

To speak with somone at the front desk of the Medical Center, please call (203) 576-6000

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