Exercises After a Tonsillectomy

Tonsillectomy is a surgical procedure during which your tonsils are removed. This surgery is commonly done on children, but in some cases, adults require it as well. It usually causes no complications and requires only a short hospital stay. Exercise after tonsillectomy can often resume within one to two weeks, as long as you take some minor precautions.

Light jogging is ok after a tonsillectomy. (Image: microgen/iStock/GettyImages)

Tip

You will likely be resuming physical activity after tonsillectomy within one to two weeks after your procedure.

Reasons for Tonsillectomy

A tonsillectomy is performed as a treatment for chronic tonsillitis in adults. Tonsils may also be removed if they are enlarged and impede your ability to breathe. In cases where one tonsil is significantly larger than the other, the tonsils may be removed to ensure that there's no cancer developing.

According to a December 2015 article, published by Deutsches Arzteblatt International, adults who underwent tonsillectomy experienced fewer episodes of sore throat over the next seven years and reported improved quality of life. In addition, the participants experienced fewer work absences and visits to the doctor.

Surgery and Recovery

Tonsillectomies are performed mainly under general anesthesia. The procedure rarely lasts longer than an hour. Tonsils are removed using a scalpel. In most cases, an overnight hospital stay after a tonsillectomy is required, although surgeons may also perform a tonsillectomy as an outpatient procedure.

According to UW Health, exercise after tonsillectomy should be avoided for at least a week following the procedure. Work, swimming, physical activities and lifting anything over 25 pounds are also not recommended for the first week after surgery. This rest period will allow the wounds in your throat to heal adequately and reduce the chance of bleeding or other complications during your recovery.

Things to Consider

You might not feel up to par or be anxious to resume exercise after tonsillectomy. Recovery from this procedure typically includes a sore throat, fever, earache, runny nose and constipation. In addition, your diet will be limited to clear liquids initially, then slowly progressing to more textured food over the next two weeks. You might find it difficult to muster the energy to exercise after tonsillectomy with these dietary restrictions. Give yourself time to heal before resuming physical activity after tonsillectomy.

Exercise After Tonsillectomy

After a week or two of rest, you may resume some light exercise after tonsillectomy. Be sure to avoid high-intensity exercises, contact sports and exercises that put pressure on your upper body or throat, such as yoga, because they may cause a spike in blood pressure and cause the wounds in your throat to bleed.

Consider exercises such as walking, light jogging, low-intensity weightlifting and stationary biking when resuming physical activity after tonsillectomy. Your physician will tell you when your surgical wounds are healed and you are ready to start high-intensity exercises.

Do not exercise while taking pain medications after this procedure. Side effects of these drugs can affect your balance and ability to exercise safely.

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