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lifting after cervical fusion

dbullwinkelddbullwinkel Posts: 224
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:26 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I was wondering, anyone who has had cervical fusion; does your doctor give you a weight limit in regards to lifting? I hope to be returning to work as a special education teacher (in a physical position) in January. That would be five months post op. I see the doctor on January 2nd and this is on my list of questions to ask him. I am assuming his answer will determine if I go back now (or not at all :''( ).
Another question: I still have pain and need to take meds twice a day (ultracet): Doctor says fusion is going along nicely (don't have a %) so, pain is just simply pain at this point, right? I guess what I am trying to say: If I can deal with the pain, ( I listen to my body and rest as soon as I need to) is it safe to assume I can return to more "normal" lifestyle?


  • My NS said nothing more than 1 pound for the first 4 weeks, then no more than 5 pounds for the next 4, now at 8 weeks, I am up to 10 pounds so long as it is not strenuous.
    I had a 3 level ACDF.
  • I went home the day after surgery with a 10 pound weight limit. I had my 8 weeks post-op appt with the NS last week and he upped my limit to 50 pounds. He stressed no bouncing, jumping, jarring, but said straight lifting would not be a problem for my neck.
  • Sometimes I think you're superman in disguise. :) I still have a 10 lb weight limit and river and I had surgery at about the same time. But I don't think my doc would want his 94 lb. patient trying to lift half her body weight regardless of surgery.
  • Went to see my NS for my 2nd post-op appointment today. My surgery was 11/17. Been out of the collar since Day 8 -- and on no meds since that time (other than an occasional 1/2 vicoden when I overdid it with too much shopping, folding clothes or cleaning out the closet). My x-rays show initial signs of fusion . . . and although my left index finger is still numb, it's better than it was pre-surgery with pain and burning.

    No PT -- I have excellent range of motion and only pain with extremes of flexion/extension.

    Lifting??? No limits!!!! However . . . big however here -- I am to "increase" slowly. Currently lifting 10 pounds, able to lift more, but very, very gradually. Was told "everything" in my life will now need to be done gradually and with extreme caution.

    I'm currently working 4 hours per day, but can begin 8 hours per day next week. No increase to 10 - 12 hours for awhile (I'm a manager and my normal workday is 10 - 12 hours).

    My only complaint -- the throat issues!!! They continue, and although it is not "pain", it's challenging, irritating and bothersome. Was told it was the "muscles" that they cut and sutured -- that they were taut . . . and it may take another month or two for the sutures to fully dissolve and allow my throat muscles to work properly. UGH. I guess, in the whole scheme of things, I've not done too badly!

  • tonya, Thanks, but I'm no superman. I just had a great surgeon, tried to do all the right things and have had a very positive attitude. It was never a question of IF this surgery would help, it was always "when I'm back to normal..." And yes, 50 pounds is a much smaller percentage of my body weight than yours!
  • I would probably have fewer weight lifting restrictions by now just as river has but I've got another issue going on right now in my head called a Chiari Malformation so until we figure that out I'm still on my 10 lb weight limit. So you would probably bounce back more like river than me. I'm a bad example actually.
    P.S. River I know you have to have a cape somewhere. But it's ok if youo don't want to show us. I just keep reading your signature and researching all of your vitamins to try to find out if there is something as simple as a vitamin that I might be needing.
  • thanks for all the input!I have my questions listed for the doctor! Now this may sound strange to most of you..is there any limit to the amount of force used to basically push?? you see at work, often we need to restrain a child either on the floor with another person or while the child is seated. That is a totally different motion than lifting and it can be sustained for a few minutes (or longer) until the child regains composure. Again, i will explain this to the doctor. Oh by the way, restraining is totally safe for the child..we follow specific guidelines! Thanks
  • I would just like to recommend a FANTASTIC neurosurgeon for Chiari Malformations. Honestly, I don't know much about Chiari Malformations. My husband was in a car accident in January of 2008 and this particular neurologist / neurosurgeon was "on call" that afternoon. His name is Dr. Oro he is located in Aurora Colorado and has a private practice under the name of Neurosurgery Center of Colorado. I had taken my husband into his office for a "follow up" appointment and saw all of this information on Chiari Malformations, so I grabbed a pamphlet and began reading (although we were not there because of a Chiari Malformation). My husband has had one surgery by Dr. Oro and having a second on December 30th, 2008 to fuse C5,C6 and C7. My husband and I trust this man explicitly. He has a very conservative approach and very good with his patients. Although my husband isn't being seen by Dr. Oro for Chiari, I am very fortunately that he was "on call" the evening of my husbands car accident.
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