Exercises After a Tonsillectomy

Young woman with sore throat
Tonsillitis causes a sore throat. (Image: hoozone/iStock/Getty Images)

Tonsillectomy is a surgical procedure during which your tonsils are removed. This surgery is commonly done on children, but in some case adults require it as well. It usually causes no complications and requires only a short hospital stay. This procedure usually will not impede your exercise regimen, as long as you take some minor precautions.

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. Some rare diseases of the tonsils may also warrant their removal. Once the tonsils are removed, a study at Brigham and Women's Hospital found that adults took fewer antibiotics and less time off from work due to tonsil and throat problems.

Surgery

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. Surgeons may also perform a tonsillectomy as an outpatient procedure.

Rest

According to UW Health, exercise should be avoided for at least a week following a tonsillectomy. 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 during your recovery.

Exercises

After a week of rest following a tonsillectomy, you may resume some light exercise. 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. Walking, light jogging, low-intensity weightlifting and stationary biking are all examples of physical activities that are safe to do after a tonsillectomy. Your physician will tell you when your surgical wounds are healed and you are ready to start high-intensity exercises.

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