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no physical therapy after 3-level ACDF?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:37 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi -

I had my first follow up appointment with my surgeon 4 weeks ago and she said she did not want me to start physical therapy. I see her again on November 3rd which will be about 4 months post op. From what I've been reading, other people were told to start physical therapy a few weeks after their ACDF surgeries.

Maybe my surgeon is just being really cautious and wants to see how my fusion's progressing before starting my physical therapy? My pain isn't unmanageable - I just take Tylenol to dull the aches but am finding increasing soreness between my shoulder blades and base of neck. I'm thinking physical therapy will help. Has anyone else had to wait months after their surgery to start physical therapy?

- Margaret



  • Some surgeons are very cautious in their use of physical therapy after surgery. Some do not recommend it at all as they feel it sometimes does more harm than good. Has your surgeon said that he is waiting a while longer to start or is he not planning on it?

    After my lumbar fusion, my surgeon had no particular plans one way or the other. I asked. He said, do you want to go to PT? He didn't care one way or the other. I have friends who did not start until around six months. So there really isn't one "right" way of doing things. It depends on where the doctor trained, what his experience is with PT, whether he has had some patients who were damaged by PT, etc.

    I would just call the surgeon's office and inquire as to what they are planning for you, and discuss it with him, if you feel differently.

  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084
    I had no PT after my C5-C7 ACDF. The doctor said he didn't see a need for it as long as I continued to improve on my own. I was very careful about range of motion and did only what was comfortable. Over time the muscle spasms went away and I continually improved. I was even in an Aspen brace for 6 weeks but that didn't seem to cause me to loose any muscle or neck strength.
    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 
  • Hi Gwennie -
    I'll ask my doctor at my next appointment to see if I need physical therapy. Maybe she is being cautious. I was just curious if I was the only one not getting physical therapy straight away. It makes sense that everyone's recovery is different -

  • Thanks for letting me know about your experience. I just wasn't sure if I was the only person who wasn't getting physical therapy after my operation. I'll see at my next follow up appointment in November if I'll have physical therapy -

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