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physical therapy after two level fusion

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,731
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:24 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I had an anterior/posterior 2 level fusion on Oct 6th and my OS wants me to start PT next week. I was looking to see how soon others started and what their PT consisted of.



  • :H :H

    Wow, that's pretty quick. I had a one level L5S1 ALIF and started PT at 11 weeks post op. The excercises are pretty standard back ones, streching and stuff.

  • Hi Croswet, well as you know all docs are different. Mine often doesn't even prescribe physical therapy. I asked if I could go at 8 weeks, cause I want to get as strong as possible, so he ordered it. I get heat, do stretches, pelvic tilts, bridges, leg press, bike, hand bike, swiss ball, and ice. I could do all this on my own, but going is kinda like having a personal trainer to help and encourage and keep you on track. I also have been going to the YMCA pool since 4 weeks post-op to do a pool therapy routine with my docs approval. It is very gentle, walking, stretches, a few exercises. Where do you live? It seems like people from the UK, OZ, start PT sooner than in the US, but all docs are different. So good-luck with your PT and keep us posted on your progress. >:D< Sue
  • I had a five level 360 fusion and started PT the same week I got home. I did the treadmill, some weights, and a lot of stretching. I did all of this wearing my turtle shell brace.

    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.
  • I had a three-level fusion in May. The PT I did in the hospital and rehab was just to teach me walk with a walker, later cane, then without. They also thought me to walk up and down stairs, and some simple exercises, but the emphasis was on walking. Same thing when I got home and a visiting PT came during the first month. At my five-month checkup, the x-ray showed that I was almost fused, so my OS let me start regular PT. The objective is to strengthen the core abdominal and back muscles. I also do some weights and exercise bike. And I still walk at least an hour every day, on top of the 1/2 hour home exercises.

  • My surgeon had me start PT in the pool at 4 weeks post-op. These were 1 hour sessions that included walking (in the water obviously, calf and hamstring stretches, squats, arm exercises, etc. Of course, this was in addition to my usual regimen of walking.
  • On September 25th. 2 levels, and my surgeon said no PT at least until the 3 month mark. Stretching and walking is good for your circulation. Always keep moving your legs. The most scarey thing is a blood clot!!! You want to advoid that! (and I'm sure there are more scarier things than that, but that's what I think of now!)
    Ask what kind of PT is he/she prescribing. It could just be stretching and ultrasound (heat massage) and ice therapy too. Always ask questions if you have them. The most improtant keys to this is the patient,YOU, and the doc!
    Never feel afraid to "speakup" either! No one will know what you are thinking unless you ask!
    Good luck and let me know!
    Kim >:D<
  • If the PT starts off very slow (walking, simple exercise of your legs), then that isn't a big issue. But, don't over do it!

    I felt great after fusion surgery until PT began to rachet up the workout. Soon, I hurt like a big dog and still do to this day when doing something physical. I don't know if there is a definite relationship there, but my personal feeling is that I wasn't fused enough when they started me BLT again. I could be wrong.

    Water therapy is the best! I highly recommend that.

    Several Epidurals, L4-S1 360 ALIF, Numerous Facet Joint Injections, RFA x2
  • I'm having a 2 level TLIF December 4th and the Doc said I can start PT 3 weeks after surgery, so I made all my appointments already so I could get the times I wanted.
  • I had surgery on 10/20/08, I have been told to wait for at least 6 to 8 weeks before I can start physical therapy. I am not in rush, but is it all right to wait that long. I had PLIF and ALIF.
  • Although my doctor let me start PT 4 weeks after ALIF/PLIF because I wanted to start as soon as possible, he said he often had people wait until 8 weeks to start. But you can see from the posts here that many start PT right away and others not until much later or not at all. I think it also depends on what kind of PT you are going to have. For example, mine is pool therapy while a friend has PT post-fusion that involves weights and stretches.
  • I am 8 weeks post op, but am only starting PT this soon because I requested to. Otherwise, I think they were going to have me wait until the 12 week mark.
  • I just had a TLIF on 12/3 and my first appointment is on 12/22. My surgeon has prescribed 4-6 weeks of it. I don't know if they are having me start early because my surgery was minimally invasive.
  • I had a 2 level TLIF/Laminectomy and started PT about 2 months later. I had problems with severe pain flares and things didn't go well with the exercises and I didn't do very well. I was discharged before my six weeks of PT were complete because I didn't make any improvements so that the insurance would pay.
  • had a 2 level July 7th and two more surgeries after that... the last one being Aug. 21 or so to clean out the incision (the second surgery was because of a full blown infection). I started PT in late Sept and it was way too soon. I wasn't vocal enough. I know PT will hurt "some" but you're not supposed to feel "injured" every time you leave and the next two days! I finally spoke up... they toned it down... but it was still too much for me. I have serious leg issues from running long distances so many years with a bad back. I was told I would need 6-9 months of PT. I decided two weeks ago (after my PT girl nailed me worse than ever and I was mostly in bed 2 days) that I needed a huge break from PT mentally and physically. so I'm not going til at least January. all that to say, you gotta speak up. not to say whine all the time... but if you feel like doing nothing after PT except crying... that's not right and that's NOT the way it's supposed to be. hope your experience is way better than mine.
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