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How To Relieve Back Pain After A Tummy Tuck

You can relieve pain after a tummy tuck by taking prescription medicine, avoiding strenuous activities immediately after surgery, and getting plenty of rest to heal fully.

A tummy tuck is a significant cosmetic surgery designed to make you look and feel great by removing excess fat and skin from the abdominal area. Despite its importance, tummy tuck is also associated with back pain, which can cause a lot of discomfort. Dealing with the pain as soon as you feel it is highly recommended. Taking care of yourself and preventing back pains after a tummy tuck before they happen is even better. Keep reading to learn more about a tummy tuck, what causes pain after the procedure, and other relevant information.

Table of Contents

What is Tummy Tuck Surgery

A tummy tuck – commonly known as abdominoplasty – is a cosmetic procedure that flattens the stomach to improve appearance and shape. During a tummy tuck procedure, physicians first administer general anesthesia to induce unconsciousness during surgery. The anesthesia may be administered using a breathing mask or intravenous line. Next, a horizontal incision is made between the belly button and pubic hairline, and excess fat is removed from the abdomen. The weakened abdominal muscles, or fascia, are then tightened with sutures. Afterward, the remaining skin may be cut to remove excess parts and sutured to close the incision. The surgery takes about two and a half hours to complete, and its results can last indefinitely.

You might consider getting a tummy tuck if you have excess fat or skin in the lower abdomen, a weak lower abdominal wall, or stretched abdominal muscles. While the procedure is used to eliminate excess skin and fat, it shouldn’t be used as a weight loss remedy or confused for liposuction – a cosmetic surgery for removing fat. A tummy tuck is great for healthy men and women with a stable weight. Women whose muscles and skin are stretched as a result of pregnancy can also consider the procedure. Nevertheless, it’s inappropriate for women still planning to get children. It’s also not great for smokers because smoking inhibits blood circulation to the skin and tissues, which can slow down healing and cause potential complications after surgery.

How Does a Tummy Tuck Cause Back Pain?

The tummy tuck procedure is usually associated with back pain problems. This is because the surgery can alter the spine’s alignment, causing a strain in nearby muscles and joints. In addition, a tighter skin closure than usual when stitching the incision can cause back pain. This is especially common among patients who don’t have enough tummy skin to remove.

Main Causes of Back Pain Problems After a Tummy Tuck Procedure


Separated Abdominal Muscles

The removal and separation of abdominal muscles are among the main causes of back pain after surgery. Besides feeling a gap in your abdomen, the separation of abdominal muscles in your stomach can result in mild to severe back pain problems. The separation usually gets better by itself, so give yourself enough rest after a tummy tuck surgery. In addition, physical therapy can help heal the condition while alleviating pain.

Excess Abdominal Skin Removal

Removing excess skin from the abdominal area can cause a tighter enclosure, which is notorious for causing back pain problems. If the physician overcuts the skin or the patient lacks enough tummy skin, there’s a possibility of creating a tighter closure than normal when suturing the incision. The tight enclosure can prevent the patient from staying upright, resulting in back pain problems after a few hours or days. A tightened enclosure needs more time to heal to let a patient stand, walk, and sit without feeling any back pain.

Use of Compression Garment

Wearing a compression garment is a common postoperative care for tummy tucks. While these garments enhance healing after abdominoplasty, they also tend to cause back pain. This is usually the case when the garments worn are too tight and too constricting, making them put more stress on your back, increasing pain and injury risks. As a rule, compression garments worn after surgery should be flexible and the right size to prevent pain. The garments should also provide a wide range of motion.

Vigorous Physical Activity Immediately After Surgery

Engaging in strenuous activity a few days after surgery is a major cause of back pain conditions among patients who undergo a tummy tuck procedure. Exercising too soon after surgery causes bruising, swelling, and pain, leading to more injury problems and slackening the healing process. After surgery, you should relax for a few weeks before participating in any exercises to avoid straining your incisions and stitches. It’s also advisable to start with simple exercises and incorporate strenuous activities later on after you’ve healed fully. Ensure you follow the surgeon’s instructions regarding when to engage in physical activity to avoid hurting yourself.

Bad Posture

Any non-neutral body position after a tummy tuck means back pain problems. A bad posture causes imbalances and puts more pressure on the spine, back muscles, and joints. Over time, bad posture can result in pain in your back. You can evade this kind of pain after an abdominoplasty by always maintaining a good, neutral posture. Upholding a good posture ensures your back is balanced without stress or pressure on the muscles, tissues, and joints.

Preventing Back Pain After a Tummy Tuck Procedure


Rely on an Experienced Board-Certified Surgeon

One way to prevent experiencing back pain after abdominoplasty is to choose an experienced board-certified plastic surgeon to operate on you. Certified plastic surgeons are highly trained and experienced, meaning they’ll conduct the tummy tuck procedure correctly. Surgeons also provide postoperative surgical care and treatment, including managing post-surgery pain and other complications. Certified surgeons provide medication to manage pain after the procedure. Choosing a professional surgeon for the surgery will almost guarantee good results.

Make Use of the Surgery’s Benefits

Taking advantage of the functional benefits of tummy tuck surgery is another way to prevent pain. The surgery gets rid of excess skin and fat, tightening the stomach to give you a toned, well-defined body. This effect can significantly increase your self-esteem and confidence, allowing you to face life experiences head-on and explore opportunities as they come. In addition, a tummy tuck can strengthen your abdominal muscles and restore a weakened core, enabling you to maintain a good posture and live a healthy life free of spine issues.

Carefully Manage Pain

Managing pain after a tummy tuck procedure is critical to preventing post-operative pain. Practice post-surgical pain control by taking medication designed to reduce inflammation and discomfort caused by the surgery. These include painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs. Besides taking medication, physiotherapy is another great way to manage pain following a tummy tuck. Various physiotherapy techniques, such as massages and light stretching exercises, relax the muscles, joints, and tendons, reducing pain caused by too much pressure. In addition, physiotherapy prevents pain by stimulating nerve fibres and blocking pain messages from the brain to your back and other body parts.

Abide by All Instructions for Physical Activity and Daily Activity After a Tummy Tuck

Another incredible way to prevent back pain after a tummy tuck is to follow your surgeon’s instructions concerning physical activity and daily activities of living. Giving your incisions some time to heal and starting light physical activity based on your surgeon’s postoperative recommendations is highly advisable. Ensure you follow your physician’s recommendations for when to resume grooming, dressing, eating, ambulating, and more. Avoiding heavy lifting or any other activity that can harm the operated area is also great.

Frequently Asked Questions


Why does my back hurt so much after a tummy back?

Your back can hurt so much after an abdominoplasty as a result of a tight closure caused by having less tummy skin to remove. Using a tight compression garment that puts pressure on the back can also make the back hurt after a tummy tuck. In addition, engaging in strenuous physical activity a few days after surgery can cause back pain, and so can sitting or standing with a poor posture that puts too much stress on your spine.

When does back pain go away after a tummy tuck?

Back pain after a tummy tuck can go away after a few days to several months, based on its severity. Giving yourself time to recover and managing pain carefully can make the pain go away quickly. Physiotherapy can also accelerate healing and ease pain following a tummy tuck procedure.

How long do you need to sleep on your back after a tummy tuck?

After surgery, you’ll need to sleep on your back after a tummy tuck for approximately 3 to 6 weeks. You may need to sleep on your back for a longer time if the injury delays healing. Sleeping on your back puts less pressure on the incision and stitches, allowing you to recover from abdominoplasty quickly, with no pain and other complications.

What position should I rest in after a tummy tuck?

The best position to rest in after a tummy tuck is to sleep on your back. While resting in this position might be difficult if you’re used to sleeping on your stomach or side, most people get used to it after some time. You can even start by sleeping on a recliner seat to ease yourself into the position. Sleeping on your stomach or side is best avoided to prevent straining the incisions and causing post-operation issues.

What helps back pain after surgery?

Medications that fight pain and inflammation can alleviate back pain after an abdominoplasty procedure. Muscle relaxants and opioids are great options for easing back pain following surgery. Several physical therapy exercises after abdominoplasty can better back pain. These exercises achieve this by increasing muscle strength, promoting blood flow, and improving a wide range of motion. Manual therapies using hands-on techniques, such as massages, help relax muscles and bones, alleviating pain in the process.

Why does my lower back hurt after abdominal surgery?

Your lower back hurts after a tummy tuck surgery because your stomach has a tight closure. If not, your abdominal muscles are separated, or the spine is altered. Performing strenuous physical activity immediately after surgery can hurt your lower back, and so can maintaining a poor posture when sitting or standing. Wearing tight compression garments can also lead to back pain problems instead of promoting healing.

Can I sleep on my side three weeks after tummy tuck surgery?

You can sleep on your side three weeks after an abdominoplasty if the incision site and stitches have healed. Sleeping on your side before this isn’t allowed to avoid putting too much pressure on the site and causing pain. Nevertheless, you may need to sleep on your back for three more weeks or longer if the incision site and stitches take long to heal.

Why does my back nerve hurt after a tummy tuck?

The alteration of your spine during a tummy tuck procedure can lead to the pinching of one or more of the nerves in your lower back. Pinched nerves can hurt, with pain ranging from mild to acute levels. Your back nerves could also hurt if you stay in a poor posture for too long after surgery.

How much should I walk after a tummy tuck procedure?

Walking with aid for 10 to 15 minutes once or twice a day during the first week after tummy tuck surgery is best. By the end of the second week, you should be able to walk twice daily for 10 to 15 minutes without walking assistance. Don’t overexert yourself to avoid putting too much pressure on the incision site and stitches.

Will insurance cover tummy tuck for back pain?

Insurance doesn’t necessarily cover tummy tuck because it’s a cosmetic surgery that’s considered elective. However, if you have chronic back pain that needs abdominoplasty to ease, you may receive a clearance letter from a doctor for a medically authorized tummy tuck. As a result, your insurance provider will have no option but to cover the procedure as it’s already declared medically necessary.