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Is PT always recommended?



  • My surgeon never prescribed PT for me and I just did my own (I have had PT at other times in my life for back, so already knew quite a bit of the exercises) - long story short, I've gotten much worse than I ever was before the surgery, which I had 5 months ago. My NS was not returning my calls (apparently doesn't want to acknowledge a "failure") or letters that I faxed telling him, so I just went to a new NS for an opinion. The first thing he did was advise PT, and I went yesterday for the first time. I was really, really impressed by the guy who will be working with me and will be going 3X wk (and yes, it's $35/visit for me, so $105 a week!) for 6 weeks. But I think the $ is going to be worth it. I suspect that some of what I had been doing may have aggravated things. I have really complicated problems with my back and legs and the therapist spent an entire hour just watching how I move in certain ways. He's paid more attention than any doctor I've seen yet!
    I think the $ may be worth it IF (big IF) you get a really good therapist.
  • My OS said that we would talk about it at my 14 week appointment. My doctor typically does have you do PT at some point after surgery

    Most of us have been walking several miles per day so we dont really need conditioning exercises from PT. My doctor does believe it is good to go to build the core muscles. Of course if you dont have a TSLO your core muscles arent as weakened as if you did wear one.

    As we all know every doctor is different! If you doctor says you should do PT you can always ask about having and Eval and then a home program to do yourself to save $$.

    Take Care,Shell
  • That's a good question, Joy! Sounds like everyone's needs are different. I had PT between my 2nd surgery & the PLIF...but now, NS said "No PT. Just walk." I do the gentle stretching things, etc. but nothing else. You're still only about 3 months out, so GO EASY....lots in there to heal yet. (I'm @ 9 months now & still mending...)

    Interesting to hear others' experiences w/ or w/o PT! My NS is just real conservative w/ me. Hope you're feeling better each week, Joy! I love your photo~! You are a lovely lady!

  • My surgeon says he sometimes orders PT. I asked him if he thought I should go and he left it up to me, so I am going. I had already been doing water pt on my own at the Y for 4 weeks. I thought I would try PT hoping it will strengthen me up for going back to work, but so far it is making my SI joints hurt. So Joy, if you have access to a warm pool, that is a great way to start. Or you could go to a few PT sessions to learn the exercises then do them at home. Good-luck, >:D< Sue
  • My doc started me on PT at 6 weeks, 2 x's a week for 6 weeks. I'm happy I went even with the expense. I returned to work 2 weeks ago part time and starting Monday, full time. Since returning to work, I've joined the gym and continued my routine and even added some things.

    Good luck Joy!!!
  • I really appreciate your comments. It is interesting to see the different approaches to PT. I am determined (when it's the right time) to strengthen my core muscles so that hopefully the same thing won't happen to other areas in my back. I'm not able to walk much right now...walked too much on the treadmill barefooted and think I have a stone bruise). Do you think it's ok for me to do some stretching now? Like, laying in bed and pulling one bent leg at a time up to my chest? Would that hurt me in any way? Thanks, again, to everyone for your support!
  • I liked the suggestion of going to a few PT sessions to learn what to do and then continue them at home on my own. Great idea!
  • Joy,
    After each of my last two back surgeries, I started PT immediately after returning home. Actually, both times I was sent to a rehab hospital and had extensive PT there. On my last surgery,my 5 level fusion, I was discharged to home on a Monday, and started PT on Friday, 4 days later.

    Emergency surgery in March of 2006 for spinal infection of L 2 and L 3. During surgery, discovered I had Cauda Equina Syndrome. Spine became unstable after surgery and had 360 fusion with 10 pedicle screws, plates and rods in April of 2007.
  • So, how are you now? Last surgery was a year ago, right? Do you think the PT helped your recovery?
  • hi my hunny bunny,
    no i did not have PT i was doing so well at my 4 month checkup he saw no need for it.
    BUT do i think i needed it??? yes yes yes. but of course with no transportation i could not.
    i had for my neck but i also needed to get back to work and oh those neck muscles after being in a collar :sick:

    my ortho gave me stretching exercise at my 4wk ckup last year.
    ya know leg up to chest. and a few others.
    that is something you are going to have to ask them before you start any routine.
    i was also going to see if i went to the first session expressed my concern between a car/gas if they would also explain and give me a sheet of exercises to do.

    i imagine the way things are going these days for everyone they are getting alot of those requests!!

    hope your doing well sweetie.
    lots of love
    terri :X >:D<
  • Yes Joy, the PT helped me very much, especially after the last surgery. Because I had to wear a brace so long, my hip flexor muscles were way to tight causing me to bend over. PT after many weeks got them back to normal.

    Emergency surgery in March of 2006 for spinal infection of L 2 and L 3. During surgery, discovered I had Cauda Equina Syndrome. Spine became unstable after surgery and had 360 fusion with 10 pedicle screws, plates and rods in April of 2007.
  • My NS is a huge proponent of PT after surgery, starting at 8 weeks and continuing for the rest of your life! I learned that the hard way. I went to the clinic for PT sessions for 6 weeks of floor, weights and ball exercises with a therapist and was taught to do them at home on my own. I thought once I was back at work and active I could slack off. Was I wrong. I began to regress, feeling worse at my 6mo appt than at my 4 mo with my NS. I went for my 6 mo with my NS I told him I was feeling my hardware and was having more pain. He asked if I was exercising each day according to the plan, and he felt my back. He immediately knew it was a result of those core muscles weakening. He was very upset with me. He explained that no matter how much walking or other activity I do, it does not work the core muscles as they need to be worked, and if I don't do the prescribed program daily for the rest of my life, it will be the difference between a very successful outcome or a failure. I have since gone back to the program, and am feeling much better...it works. I had a 3 level fusion L3-S1 with hardware, and Laminectomy, Facetectomy And Foraminotomy all of the levels, done at a teaching hospital in the midwest.
  • I agree with phasti, PT for the rest of your life. I started PT at 4 weeks. It was real slow at first, water 2x a week and land 1x a week. I love the deep water, and I can tell a huge difference when I don't go for more than 3 days. I start to feel stiff and achey and I don't want to go and then I go and feel so much better. I will definitely find a way to work it in to my life after I go back to work next month. I walk too, but it just doesn't do the same thing for me. It amazes me the differences in doctor opinions on this subject.
  • At 8 weeks my NS prescribed PT, but due to scheduling I did not start until 9 weeks. At the time he said that we would see how I progressed, but originally he estimated a minimum of 2 months of supervised PT. Of course, he also indicated that it would also be a lifelong committment. My PT believes in a very conservative approach. However, I could not believe how it affected my hips and SI joint. In my case, I really need it.
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