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Did you do this at PT?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,731
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:25 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Just curious with those of you with a 2 or 3 level fusion...did PT have you do cat stretches...the ones where you are on your all fours, arch your back up like a cat and then slump in down.....they did after my L5S1 but I haven't done PT with the L4L5, I have just been doing what I did last year for the first fusion except for this particular stretch~seems like it would pull on that L4 area?? Doc said no restrictions, but I'm still not sure....wondering what your PT's are doing.


  • I had a three-level fusion, and I did nothing like you describe during PT. As matter of fact, when my surgeon was discharging me (at five months) we talked about yoga, in general, and he said I should not do anything like a cat back. Otherwise I have very little restrictions (maybe no twisting, and bending properly).

  • thanks so much~that's what I was thinking. You've been discharged before one year? You have done fabulous!!
  • Hi Carol, I was doing exercises on all 4 paws there I had to balance, raising on arm at a ime slowly and holding it there then 1 leg and the same. As I progressed I then had to lift one arm AND one leg on the opposing sides.
    All the time while doing this I had to use my pelvic and core muscles to keep my back straingt. If I went into a slump or an arch thr PT would tell me straight away to correct it.
    Mind you I curl up in bed, which arches the back but there is no pressure on the pelvis so that probably makes a difference.

    Blessings Sara O:)

  • I had to do that when I first started PT before they knew I had an issue with my disc. When I told them it was buggin the heck out of my back they ignored me. Can't imagine that it would feel very good after a surgery.
  • Yes Sara, the exercise you described is the one I am working my way up to. Currently I am tucking my tummy while lying on my back and doing marching, doing side lying leg lifts and ofcourse the stretches. Next on my list is the ball squats and then the one you described...that helped a ton last time with low back stability and control. I didn't think those cat arches would be wise. It use to feel good to stretch my back that way but I can't imagine it now. Is the knee slightly raised to the chest the way you all are nice and easily stretching the low back?
  • the knee to chest gives a nice stretch but dont overdo it. You will be able to move more as you go.
    I am finding it really hard to believe that you are just doing these now. These are the exercises I was given pretty much from week 1 :jawdrop:
    Even the knee to chest I was doing a few days after surgery as it is supposed to help reduce scaring.
    Your Dr must be super conservative.
    I can only imagine it must be a lot harder for you if you have been wearing the brace as all those muscles have gone to :sick: and now need to be worked.

    Keep it going :*
    Sara O:)
  • So, you lay down in bed and bring one knee and at time up to your chest? Do you hold it for a count of 5 or something, and then bring the other one up. Do you start with both knees bent or both legs out flat?

    Another question, is it alright to lay on your side and get in the fetal position if you haven't fused yet?

    I haven't been to PT and my back really feels like it needs to be stretched out some...I really think I would feel better.
  • Hi Carol, a similar exercise, that would have benefit but I believe less potential for strain is just to do pelvic tilts and bridges while laying on your back with knees bent. Kinda like that cat landed on his back :))( ! I had L4-5 fusion in August and these were some of my first exercises. I hold them for five seconds each. I believe it is all a slow progression. I know I have no restrictions now either, but must use common sense. Good-luck, >:D< Sue
  • I am sorry you aren't having PT yet as it really makes a difference.

    When you do this exercise yes you are lying on your back and keep one leg bent at the knee while gently bringing the other uo to your chest.
    As I progressed the PT was having me bring both legs up together and holding but this took a while.
    As Cali-Sue said the inverted cat stretch :))( is probably more gentle, so lie on bed with both knees bent and slowly raise your bottom off the bed and hold it there for 5-10 seconds using your core muscles then still using your core muscles SLOWLY lower your bottom down again.
    You dont need to lift it far to feel it working.

    Sara O:)
  • Thanks! I think I remember doing these in PT before surgery, but my rememberer is broken!
  • yes, like Kinpain, my surgeon waits until you're pretty fused but I have been doing some of the stretches all along and he let me...just not the more taxing stuff. Question: do you do all your PT exercises every day as well as walking? It becomes a long affair...I'm wondering if you rotate giving muscles a break??
  • My sessions are pretty much soft tissue work. My PT has suggested that i need to try and relax more. lol!

    I do a pelvic roll thing.

    I did this cat stretch 1st time round. PT said it was good to help stop scar build up.

    I guess they are all different with their own ideas.
  • I slept on my sides the whole time after my fusion as I just cannot sleep on my back (no pain - just that I cannot seem to fall asleep on my back). My doc never placed any side sleep restrictions on me and sleeping on my side hasn't done me any harm. Perhaps you could ask your doctor just to double check that he is happy with you sleeping on your side...
    Joy said:
    So, you lay down in bed and bring one knee and at time up to your chest? Do you hold it for a count of 5 or something, and then bring the other one up. Do you start with both knees bent or both legs out flat?

    Another question, is it alright to lay on your side and get in the fetal position if you haven't fused yet?

    I haven't been to PT and my back really feels like it needs to be stretched out some...I really think I would feel better.
    Keep positive!


    ...an old timer here and ex-moderator

  • yes carol it is apretty long session but I dont do it all at the same time. Now as it is getting hot I leave my walks for the evening and do the exercises earlier in the day.
    They usually take me about 40 minutes to get through then the walking later and sometimes in the morning. When the pool at mums is warm enough I will add that too.
    I jsut figure I am not working at the moment so this is my job.

    Blessings Sara O:)
  • No cat stretching here. Only several exercises while laying on my back and walking up and down steps.

  • what kind of exercises motorator?
  • Hi

    Marching while laying on my back.

    Pull one knee towards the chest then the other knee while laying on my back.

    Squeeze the ball between the knees while laying on my back.

    Stread the knees against the rubber band.

    Flex the core muscles.
  • haven't tried the knees against the rubber band while laying, only while sitting.....how do you do it while lying down, sounds much easier for where I'm at in my recovery.
  • Lay on the back. Feet up by the butt. Push knees apart against the rubber band.

    My surgery was pretty major so the PT was nothing aggresive.

    I'd show you the whole scar but I might be blocked.


  • woa, you've got quite the incision. Mine is 3-4 inches and even that has the muscles revved up...you're really doing well! do u wrap the rubber band around your knees and push out...not quite getting what the exercise band is attached to? Sorry, I'm a visual person /:)
  • It is tyed in a circle.
  • long incision!


    Mine resembled a sunday roast joint. SO glad it was at the back so i couldn't see it!!
  • ohhhhh, I get it. Thanks, that sounds easier than the one I had been given that was sitting.

    Hey guys, as long as we're on the subject, would you please share what exercises and stretches you do.

    So far, I do 2 piriformis stretches. One is the pretzel stretch the other is lying on my back, left leg on bed bend right leg, cross over one hand on right knee, one hand on pelvis to stabilize and gently pull. one knee at a time to chest stretch. Standing hip flexor stretch and stair,calf stretch. Strengthening: I do clams, heel slides with tummy tightened and marching with tummy tightened, and walking,walking, walking....next is walking the ball in and out while lying on back with tummy tightened.
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