General and Gastrointestinal Surgery

Activity Guidelines

With the exception of heavy lifting and vigorous exercise, you can resume normal activities, including driving, walking and sexual activity, once you feel you are ready.  Pain is the body's way of letting you know you are doing something you shouldn't.  If it hurts, don't do it. Here are some commonsense guidelines:

  • Do not over-exert yourself.

  • Do not lift more than 15-20 pounds.

  • You will most likely not want to do much for 24 to 48 hours after surgery. Although you should get rest during this time, it is equally important to get up and walk.

  • It is okay to go up and down stairs, and this is encouraged. 

  • Do not drive while you are taking narcotic pain medicines and while your incisions hurt. This may reduce your ability to move quickly.

  • Your thought processes may take 24 to 48 hours to return to normal because of anesthesia. Do not make any important business or personal decisions during this time.

  • You can return to work when you feel comfortable that you can perform your job safely and at the level you and your employer expect. Usually this is a minimum of one week. If your job involves heavy lifting you should stay out of work for at least 2-4 weeks. 

  • Most people find they fatigue easily during the second and even the third week, so don't overload your schedule. 

  • Do not return to exercise or strenuous activity until you are seen for a  follow-up.

Learn more about pain and discomfort