Recovery From Surgery (appendectomy)

Discussion in 'General Training' started by _Simon_, Jul 23, 2017.

  1. _Simon_

    _Simon_ Active Member

    Heya guys, long time no chat! Posted back in the day, hope you are all well :)

    I recently had my appendix removed, and was told to avoid heavy lifting for about a month or so. I've read all sorts of things like no lifting more than 10lbs for at least 5 weeks (lifting how though is the question...), light lifting after 2 weeks, normal duties at 4 weeks etc etc... but basically I'd imagine no lifting that would stress the core or require tightening of the torso (exercises like squats, deads, mil press, even BB curls)

    Was thinking of getting back into light (I mean LIGHT!) lifting in 2 weeks or so just to see how I go.

    Just wondering if anyone here has had an appendectomy (done laproscopically, so recovery is shorter than the traditional slicing method), and how they went about recovery, getting back into weight training, what exercises they did.

    I'm thinking of sticking to primarily isolation exercises, bench press should be okay I'd imagine, nothing that really requires abdominal contraction of any kind (which may be impossible as most do to some degree in order to stabilise...)

    Hope to run a HST cycle after I recover (gonna go back to basics and keep it simple, maybe alternating standard/myoreps).

    Thanks heaps guys, am interested in your thoughts on this :)


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  2. Browner

    Browner Well-Known Member

    Good to have someone else back on the forum.

    I've never had the surgery you are talking about, however I have heard of people training with as little as 4 days after the procedure. This is a quote from Mark Rippetoe from that made me chuckle when he was talking about training after surgery on a starting strength forum

    "I'd go ahead and train: I squatted 4 days after my appendectomy. You have already put weight on the foot, haven't you? And you know that you'll heal faster if you continue to do so at as quickly-increasing a level as you can stand, don't you? Because you know that if this were 30,000 years ago the hyenas would eat you if you didn't, right? So you be the judge, not the doctor. Rehab it aggressively as you can possibly stand, because that's the only way that really works. You know this already, because it's in your DNA."

    If it were me I would start with extremely light compounds (empty bar if you have too) Maybe something like

    Squat 3x5
    Bench 3x5
    Deadlift 1x5

    Squat 3x5
    OHP 3x5
    BB Row 1x5

    and alternate these every other day.

    Imo that would help make the whole body stronger in more functional movements than isolation exercises. The minor muscle groups (biceps etc...) will get plenty of stimulus from these movements. I would also invest in a quality belt as well.

    Only you know your body however, take what the doctors tell you with a pinch of salt (how many of them really know about strength/weight training and its benefits)

    Good luck!
    _Simon_ likes this.
  3. _Simon_

    _Simon_ Active Member

    Ah thanks heaps for that, very helpful.
    Hmm deeeeefinitely not going to train 4 days after, terrible idea I reckon, and I think Rippetoe is far too idealistic there haha.. yeah cause people/creatures 30,000 years ago got major intestinal surgeries done XD.
    Because the appendix connects directly to the intestines, they actually have to close over the hole. If too much tension/core bracing occurs, that can pop open, and everything inside the intestines (something between number 2s and mucus) will come out and make you very sick... And that has happened before to people. Is a big difference between bodyweight maneuvering and loaded exercises that require alot of core tension.

    But I love your recommendations and will take them on board for sure, thanks for that :). Will keep it super light, and relearn how to use the body again hehe.
    And true, doctors often have very general recommendations, but I do trust in certain advice haha, and would prefer to proceed cautiously :)

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  4. Browner

    Browner Well-Known Member

    Yeah Rippetoe has some good ideas, and advice but sometimes I think he is a little to extreme lol!

    Good luck with your rehab and training. :)
    _Simon_ likes this.
  5. Lol

    Lol Super Moderator Staff Member

    Personally, I'd do a load of bodyweight stuff and just be careful. Unless you are competing at a high level (which I doubt because otherwise your coaches would be advising you) there's no need to rush to get back to heavy lifting. Strength and size will come back soon enough once you have healed. Mobility work is a good idea (still be careful) and it is well known that higher-rep metabolic sets can help with all sorts of injury healing. Increasing blood flow to an area that is healing is a good idea. All the best with your recovery.
    Totentanz, _Simon_ and Browner like this.
  6. _Simon_

    _Simon_ Active Member

    Ah thanks so much Lol, that was very helpful. Yeah tomorrow (which will two weeks post surgery) I'm going to try a few bodyweight exercises, and empty bar bench/rows. I've only just gotten round to doing longer walks which was tricky haha, it's amazing how deconditioned I am now!

    I want to do stuff to strengthen the core (which has had to be very idle in this period), but will have to go very slow, sneezing is an absolute nightmare at the moment haha.

    Have managed to do some light karate movements and stancework which exhausted me, but managed ok. Progress is progress :)

    Appreciate your help very much
  7. Browner

    Browner Well-Known Member

    How's you recovery going? I had to have my appendix out on Monday, currently feel like I've been hit by a truck Any recovery tips?
  8. _Simon_

    _Simon_ Active Member

    Ah yeah I know that feeling haha.. it was a pretty rough recovery for me only because I had other stomach stuff going on all throughout, along with appendectomy recovery.

    The absolute best advice is rest, rest, rest! Rest is your best friend, but gradually build up to going on short walks. About half a week to a week after the operation I started going on 5-10 minute constant walks every hour. Mind you I walked very very slowly haha, and it was difficult to have an upright posture, but definitely worth doing to get used to moving again. Gradually increase not only how long you walk for (go by feel, everyone's different and has different recovery times), but also try your best to walk a little more upright every time.

    You'll probably have a bit of low back pain from hunching a bit and that's normal, just build your way up to upright position.

    Try to avoid using your core/abdominals, you'll find the best way to lay down again and get up from laying position (It's basically a roll on your side, swinging your legs up or out, and using your arm strength to push yourself up or lay yourself down).

    I found laying down with my legs propped up was far more comfortable than laying with legs straight, so you may find it more comfortable sleeping on a couch and propping your legs up on the head rest, or even some people like the recliner chair apparently.

    Another thing which is crucial to recovery is to relax, and not resist any pain that comes up. Breathe deeply and surrender any resistance you have to the pain or any wishing that it would go away. Also taking away any labels or judgments you put on them. Eventually it's seen as just sensation which comes and goes, and you no longer contract/tense up and resist when it comes up (which exaggerates and amplifies the pain, "what you resist persists").

    It's now 3 weeks since my surgery and I'm still taking it quite slowly. I can be fully upright though, and I'm starting to do some bodyweight exercises and light resistance band work. I'm so keen to start training again haha, but don't rush your recovery. Let yourself recover properly; it's not long at all in comparison to the rest of your life you have to train, so just take it very easy the next 2-4 weeks.

    Oh yeah, and if possible try to avoid sneezing haha.. youch.. but if you need to i think bracing a little before it helps so that the sneeze isn't a full explosive contraction if you know what I mean.

    Best of luck, any more questions don't hesitate, but rest rest rest and it'll be a smooth recovery :).
  9. Browner

    Browner Well-Known Member

    Thanks @_Simon_ So frustrating, 10 weeks out from a PL meet and making some great strength gains and bang... you're in for surgery having an appendix removed!

    Really appreciate your advice, I know what you mean about sneezing.... ouch!

    I asked the surgeon about recovery times, but I don't think he lifts so didn't really know how to best go about ramping training up.

    I'm going to do nothing but gentle walks for this week and next week and re asses then, but to be honest I can't imagine going anywhere near a barbell for at least 6 weeks.
  10. _Simon_

    _Simon_ Active Member

    Oh wow yeah frustrating... Life can be that way hey, definitely lessons in there though for sure.

    Yeah good idea, rest heaps and you'll be good in no time. I'm just working up to very light movements that don't stress the core, and gonna try bench etc just with the bar itself.

    Good luck!
    Browner likes this.
  11. Browner

    Browner Well-Known Member

    Hi @_Simon_

    I messaged Dr Austin Baraki who is a physician and Starting Strength coach, and this was his advice. Thought I'd share as we are in the same boat

    Attached Files:

  12. _Simon_

    _Simon_ Active Member

    Ah that's awesome, thanks so much for sharing, and definitely good to know. This week am starting some light exercises (had other stomach/pelvis issues and was sick on top of that hence the delay haha), appreciate that :)
  13. Browner

    Browner Well-Known Member

    You're welcome! I know how you feel. Saturday night I developed a fever and nausea. Was panicking that I had some infection, turns out it was just a reaction to the anaesthetic and anti biotics
  14. mickc1965

    mickc1965 Well-Known Member

    Antibiotics will absolutely destroy your gut flora, can take a whole year to recover (well that's what the missus was advised by her cancer dietician) - there is a product called Symprove that can restore the healthy gut bacteria but it ain't cheap!! They claim it's the only Probiotic that can survive stomach acid.
    Browner likes this.
  15. _Simon_

    _Simon_ Active Member

    Ah really, yeah and you might have a few pains here and there round the stomach and they're just normal post surgery pains, as well as gas if they pumped gas in you during surgery.
    Hope you're training goes well, I wouldn't rush into it though, good luck!
    Browner likes this.
  16. _Simon_

    _Simon_ Active Member

    It's been just about 4 weeks since surgery, and just did my first semi-training session (as in extreeeemely light training haha, I'm guessing 20-30RM), went so very well! Felt magical to train again haha, can't wait to see how sore I am tomorrow and 48 hours time from those baby weights haha.

    No real pain during it, only a little at times, but I mainly chose exercises that were a bit more supported, but still I tried some that needed a bit of core stability and they went well.

    Here's what I did: (2 sets of each, tempo probably 4010)

    Bench Press 17.5kg (yerrrrrp, light haha) 2x 15, 15

    BB Rows 12.5kg 2x 15, 12

    Seated DB Shoulder Press 4.5kg 2x 10, 10

    Partial 1/2-3/4 squats BAR weight (7.5kg) 2x 15, 15

    RDL 12.5kg 15, 15

    Seated DB Curl 3kg 2x 15, 15

    Lying Tri extention BAR weight (7.5kg) 2x 15, 15

    It's amazing how much stamina/endurance have dropped right down.. But gonna take progression easy, and maybe ramp this same or similar setup up into a HST cycle
    Browner likes this.
  17. _Simon_

    _Simon_ Active Member

    ....... yyyyyyyoooooouch..... that's all I'll say..... XD
  18. Browner

    Browner Well-Known Member

    Hi bud? How's the recovery going? I'm now 10 days post op and a constant pain where my appendix was. Like a knife permanently in my side, and no closer to training
  19. _Simon_

    _Simon_ Active Member

    Hey mate yeah recovery from surgery really good, mostly back to normal movement, still pains here and there, and have other stomach stuff going on so still slowly getting better from that and walking slowly.

    Ah right, yeah just take it real easy, the first two weeks were tricky. Did you have it done laproscopically (three incisions, bigger one in belly button, appendix pulled out through there), or the traditional method (one cut directly over the appendix and removed directly from that)? It takes longer to heal from the traditional way apparently and shorter when done laproscopically. If the pain is getting worse or not settling just go to docs or emergency if needed so they can look. Just in case it's infected or something or just reassurance that it's normal. And definitely take pain meds when you need, no need to tough it out hehe.

    Just rest up bigtime, it's a good opportunity it to drop any supposed obligations you feel, even towards training too. I know I love training, but there were times when I felt like I 'had' to train, so was good to address that and let it go, and really take advantage of finally resting and not needing to do anything.

    Hang in there
    Browner likes this.
  20. Browner

    Browner Well-Known Member

    Thanks bud, glad you're on the mend. I had it done laparoscopically but thr appendix had burst so I had a drain fitted for a few days after. Basically a tube going into my stomach with a bag fitted on the outside to collect puss and blood.

    I think I'm just getting to ahead of myself, I get so bored and try and do too much. Last few days I've given in and just rest.

    Plus I've lost 5kg in weight too The gains are literally falling off lol

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