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AGe limits and present exercise regimen

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:33 AM in Spinal Stenosis
Hello...I am new to the list and I need some advice. I am a 75 year old woman in good physical condition. I have been diagnosed with L3,L4,L5 and S1 stenosis ranging from mild to severe. I have a Grade 1 anterolisthesis L4,L5. I have consulted one neurosurgeon who tells me fusion is necessary. I am going for a second opinion in September, if not sooner. Is there an age limit on spinal fusions? Right now I am mobile, much to the first surgeon's amazement. I can walk five miles with a little slow jogging with no problem. I lift weights and am a devoted follower of kickboxing tapes, although I think my efforts would amuse some. I am 5'3-1/2" and weigh about 125 pounds. Is it ok to continue with the weights for now? Can I worsen the problems with light kettlebell exercise? I show small dogs, (around 20 pounds) and it is necessary for me to lift them onto a grooming table for grooming and for judging. I really would like to finish this show season in October. But do not know if this is a silly goal. I go for my second epidural on Tuesday. The first lasted about 3-1/2 months. Any opinions would be welcome. <):)


  • I think it's up to the surgeon who's going to do the surgery to accept you as a surgery candidate. I have a friend who's 78 snd she was going to have the surgery but decided against it. Talk to your Surgeon and see if he's done fusion on someone your age and has faired out well. It's also a shame you couldn't get a little ramp for the dogs to go up on the table? I don't know if that's possible. I would relax with doing smaller weights and let the Dr know what type of excercise you do. I hope you have someone to help you recover and be wth you after surgery. Are you single? My Father is very fit for 74 plays golf and fit and walks and had both knees done and old fracture in foot repaired and he's good to go. Best wishes and keep us posted. Take care. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • if you can walk 5 miles i would hesitate to get surgery. my guess is that if you looked at 100 people who had fusion only about 5 of them would be able to walk 5 miles. be very careful and get more opinions. if you found you could only walk a half mile and were in pain and dr thought you would fuse ok you might consider it. it's a personal decision but please be careful....
  • Walk 5 miles - I can walk about 300 yds without my cane. With my cane, I can keep going most of the day, but it takes pacing IE [20 minu for meditation-relaxation, a couple times a day too. and meds to control the pain.

    I have severe stenosis, L3-L4 and other areas.

    Try getting more advice and think about what your level of activity is compared to your peers.

    Hope you have a good day!
  • I had spinal fusion last Jan. (2008). My mother-in-law, who was 87 at the time, had the same surgery a month later. I recovered a bit quicker but she is doing great. And, after her first dose of pain medication after surgery, she refused to take anything stronger than tylenol, as she didn't like the way it made her feel. I, on the otherhand, took whatever was offered or prescribed to me for 2 months after surgery!!

    She is a small, light woman in good health. She does all her own house work and walked most days for exercise...but that was about it in terms of exercise. I encouraged her to get several opinions, which she did, and each specialist agreed she needed fusion to relieve her pain. Each would have performed the procedure.

    I'll write more later. I'm headed out the door for acupuncture.

    xx Gwennie
  • I think I could handle the pain I have with epidurals, I take as few OTC pain meds as possible. But Im afraid if I end up having to do the surgery it would be too late if I keep on puttin it off. It's the side effects that plague me. I have had a sort diarrhea which is not CDIF or any of the other bugs and I suspect it's spine related. It came on suddenly after a month of sciatic problems (sudden loss of feeling in leg which I would walk thru) I'm due for another epidural tomorrow and I will see if it helps. Sure hope so.
    I wish there was a ramp for my dogs, but unfortunately not for terriers. :<
  • I notice that there is a line and the diagnosis listed under it. I am not sure how to do this. HELP?
  • Go into "My Account." On the right side of the page,near the top, there will be a link that says "View" or "Edit." Click on "Edit." On the page that opens, go down about half-way down the page and you'll see a box labeled "Comments" and signature. Just write in whatever you want it to say...and that will become your "signature."

    The only problem with sciatic pain, is that as you age it is probably not going to get any better. It is just a fact of nature that our spines become stenotic the older we get...and without surgery I would think that eventually the nerve will just become more and more compressed. But these are issues for your doctor to advise you on.

    My MIL couldn't take the pain any longer, so she went ahead with the fusion and was pretty much recovered by six months. I think she's done better than I have, actually.
  • Thank you gwennie...Your MIL sounds like a woman after my own heart. Your comment about it getting worse as I age underlined my own worries.
  • It sounds like your stenosis must be pretty bad if your surgeon is surprised you are able to walk. I had almost the identical issues as you and before I had surgery, I had started driving down the driveway to my mailbox to get the mail. I could not walk more than a hundred feet or so before intense pain set in.

    You need to be very careful with the weightlifting. With any type of slippage you run the risk of increased instability. I would question the kick boxing, too, although I don't know that much about it other than what I've viewed on TV or films. I know it can be a great work-out, but I would worry that the motion is too jarring for an unstable spine.

    Something really good for you would be tai chi or Qi gong. They get the blood flowing, require mental concentration and are very good for balance.

    I have a feeling the second specialist will also tell you about the only thing they can do for your pain is fusion. With the combination of stenosis and the
    anterolisthesis, I'd be surprised if there were any other good options.
  • Although I'm a firm believer in "putting things out there" thru meditation...I have an awful feeling that you're right.
    That they'll all agree on fusion.
    I had my second epidural yesterday and it's starting to kick in. I feel better. But it's taking longer to start helping and the procedure hurt more.
    A little comedy relief...In a hurry, I clipped the written report onto the wrong disk, so the doctor and tech were bemused by a studio shot of two of my puppies. "is this the CD you got from the lab?" "Oh yes"I said.
    Fortunately he was able to pinpoint problem area from written report. 8}
  • I had some injections yesterday, too...facet joints...the only thing I had not yet had injected.

    It is interesting how different each injection experience can be. I can recall early on being laid up for several days with pain.

    Did anyone tell you to restrict your activities for 3 days after the injection? Most doctors say the opposite -- that you should take it easy for the rest of the day and then can go about your "regular" routine. A chiropractor-friend of mine had told me she always advises her patients, and family members to restrict activity for at least the first 48 hours. Yesterday, my new doctor told me three days...and he is very insistent on that. He said that if you exercise or are otherwise active, it just causes the medicine to get pumped through the body and it ends up getting dissipated before it does any good.

    I figure if I'm going to all the trouble of having the injection, I can take a couple days off and take it easy just in case it makes a difference.

    That's so funny about your puppies!! I bet they'll repeat that story many times.

    xx Gwennie
  • I've had too drs. with both epidurals and not one has said anything one way or another. Thanks for the info. I'll take it to heart next time...It's way too late this time....Humph!
  • You seem to be resigned to Fusion as your only surgical option. I never accepted that option without doing lots of research and I eventually found a surgeon who told me that it was actually not the only option. He suggested decompression. I had it done in February last and now I am pain free after suffering for 5 years with the dreadful and debilitating pain of Lower Lumbar Stenosis. It also sounds to me that you are a very active and indeed a very fit person and therefore you need to look at the restrictions that may possibly be placed upon you in the future by choosing fusion over decompression, particularly if you want to continue all your present activities.

    Remember it is your body and you are in charge so don't accept anything less than you so rightly deserve deserve.

    John B
  • Thanks, I'll look into it.
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