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Anyone with multi lumbar fusions...How flexiable are you?

JakotsuJJakotsu Posts: 212
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:28 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Pref those whom have healed, fused, etc and are at there nominal levels.

I didnt think of this prior to surgery, I am fused from L2-L5 now, wondering if I will be able to bend/be somewhat flexiable once I am fully fused or will be a stif.


  • Before my recent lumbar fusion (t-11 down to s-1), I had nearly all t-levels fused and was still very flexible because I had the lumbar movement. Now, with lumbar all fused in addition, I will be pretty damn stiff, but you will be surprised how much you'll get back if you work at it (wait until you are given the okay to try). I bend from hips, and my hamstrings are very flexible. The trick is for you to keep your hips/hamstrings loose, and your back/body will compensate. You'll eventually not really notice.
  • I have my entire lumbar area fused,done April, 2007. I have no problems bending forward. My issues are bending backwards,(reaching something high up or cleaning cobwebs off the ceiling). Also, twisting just my upper body to see whats behind me. The strange thing is I can golf, taking a full swing. My backswing might be a little shorter but my follow through is fine.

    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.
  • Thats exactly what I was looking for I am presently fused at L4L5S1 and the L1L2L3 with L1 being worse,my dr. says I am to active and that will tear down my T section and Then C section. And be stiff as aboard.But have been looking for someone who can tell me that there whole lumber is fused and YES YES you have and movement is ok you can golf thats crazy, I just want to bike be able to cause thats what I do now. you say no back bending cant do that now is that no arms over behind head bow you back like? you have made my day thank you OH I have DDD and a mess of other things that goes with it but its postive for me that I can say I have spoke to someone that is fused all the way down. ThankYou again =D>
  • :))) do you mind how old are you I am 49 and my spine is tore up its crumbling I have dealt with this since I was 27 years old with 2 L4L5 lamectemies at same location resulting in nerve damage on left side drop left foot just enough to trip me up at times if I walk to fast. Then in 1990 fusion at L4L5 and in 1997 S1 is now fused making L4L5S1 fused in2008 its L1L2L3 that is crumblin and my neck is showing signs along with T section and I am scared to death what the future holds.Before after the surgeries I would feel so great life back and yes I did things I problbly shouldnt have looking back now I try not to do anything that will hurt my spine its in my for thought not after, Its 55 and 65 75 thsts scary me for I see on this site so many spinney's that have such hardware so young its WOW and i have learned so much from my spinney friends Dana if you could share with me any info that you have thank you
  • It was a bit hard to understand what you wrote, but... I am your age, and I suggest you get all your stuff taken care of now. I finally did all mine, as you can see. I'm almost 3 months, and I'm bothered by post-surgery pain and stiffness, and I hope that will all resolve. I also had a stress fracture from one of the screws, which causes pain. Surgeon thinks it is going to heal. He also says I have a bad DDD in my cervical spine, just above where my fusion ends, but because it is not bothering me now, and it is not lumbar, I may be able to go rest of my life without trouble. I do not think I can possibly have any more fusion, so if the C-level ever does give me trouble, i'll have to live with it or whatever. I'm done. I look forward to getting past all this post-surgery stiffness and pain, and don't know when that will be, but surgeon says could be a year or more.
    Good luck
  • My main issue was L4-L5 was destroyed pretty much. Had a few buldges L2-L3 not causing issue so we did it all at once. Surgeon says it will last a lifetime for me.

    Naturally not bending or twisting right now, walking fairly normal a bit more "proper" (Upright).

    My main question seems to have been answered thank you.

    I was curious as to when I be flexiable to some extent or a total stiff :D
  • I have a total spinal fusion from at least T-1 thru L-5. My spinal fusion was performed in June of 1984. I believe I have adapted to limited flexibility quite well and have minimal complaints of pain and/or movement. Learning to adapt to your new body mechanics is the key.

    Reaching for things in the cabinet, use both arms/hands. Using one arm/hand to reach throws your body into an ackward position and causes discomfort.

    I sleep in a water bed - one with a cover on it and kept warm. It comforms to my lack of arch in the back. Sleeping on traditional matresses makes me stiff and sore.

    It is very important after having a fusion to strengthen the muscles of the neck, stomach area and back areas. The muscles in the front of the neck area should be kept taunt which will give support to the neck bones. I didn't do this after my surgery and really paid for it. I was fatigued in the lower back area and bent over slightly to compensate which just caused pain. Talk to your doctor about what types of exercise you can do to strenthen these areas.

    Flexibility, as you know, is greatly decreased. I have to bend from my hips. I have side to side movement, but it is rigid and not flexible.

    All in all, I have not regretted my decision to have a full fusion. I have had minimal pain and my life style is minimally limited. I hope this helps somewhat.
  • Catsback, how old are you? How are your discs above your fusion (the C levels, I suppose, are all you have left now?)
  • I had my PT Eval yesterday, and start therapy tomorrow. They are having me come 3 days a week. The therapist tells me after a few months of Physical therapy I should regain near full flexibility that I had prior wth my age and health condition being fairly nominal.
  • My NS told me I would lose a lot of movement and flexibility - but, honestly - I am GLAD to give up mobility when before every movement that I did 'wrong' almost floored me. Now it doesn't move but it also doesn't shoot agonizing pain either.

    That said - I don't think I lost all that much. But I only have a 2-level fusion.
  • This is an interesting discussion. What amazes me mostly when somebody asks me if I can do everything I have done before my three-level (L3-S1) fusion on 5/1/08. My answer is, yes, but with modifications, or alternatively, I think I could do anything but I don't know as I have not tried. Since I was warned not to put more stress on the vertebrae above the fusion area, I am really careful. Somebody gave me a book titled "8 steps for a pain-free back" and the author advocates doing hip hinges, rather than bending from the waist. That is what I do. I am so used to it now that I can bend to pick up things bending from the floor from the hip joint with straight back and I don't even think about it. Reaching up high is a problem, but the PT taught me to do it from a lounging position or use a step stool. I am now back to my regular exercise class where I substitute some moves for others that don't seem right to me. I walk an average 12,000 -20,000 steps a day. Oh, and I am 72 years of age (not old by any means!)

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