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2 more weeks 'til post PLIF x-rays...how soon PT?

mistymaammmistymaam Posts: 63
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:37 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hey folks,

I have two more weeks until I get my post op x-rays for my PLIF. Anyone who had a one level fusion who started physical therapy after 6 weeks? I am feeling pretty good and have been faithfully adhering to restrictions (26 days since PLIF). Basically, my question is when did you begin therapy after there were signs of fusion. If you did not have signs of fusion, did they delay PT? I am woefully ignorant of what lies ahead in my recovery. Just need some idea of other's experiences. Any answers are appreciated.

Take care,



  • There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to fusion. Each surgeon has his own routine that he generally follows -- particularly regarding physical therapy. Often other than what one does in the hospital, it is not started until around three months. But some surgeons begin sooner and some do not believe in it at all...thinking it sometimes does more harm than good.

    When PT starts has nothing to do with signs of fusion. Surgeons X-ray at different points, and some do not do it at all unless the patient complains of pain. My surgeon does not routinely check for fusion unless the patient demands it. But then he also does not routinely recommend PT at a certain point either.

    The most important thing you can be doing at this point is walking. Walking stretches out the spinal nerves which helps to prevent the formation of scar tissue and it increases blood supply to the surgical area, which aids the healing. Distance is not as important as walking several times each day.

    Don't be in a hurry to rush things. The first sign of fusion is just that. It takes a long time to develop a solid fusion. There is no timetable. You will learn to listen to your body...just try to be patient.
  • I figured as such, I was curious as to other's experiences. I am at the point in my recovery that going for a mile walk is about as good as it gets. I agree with walking being the best exercise, too. Although, lately it has had to be in my house and not outdoors due to the rainy weather and very chilly temps. I guess it doesn't matter, as long as I am up and moving:) Thanks for replying.

    Take care,

  • Hi Misty! Good question you posted! As you can read, many different answers, etc.

    My NS said no PT for me, just walk walk walk (as gwennie says) & very gentle "core stuff" gentle pelvic tilts, ab tightening, etc. But he really stressed walking, so that's what I did the most.

    I did have some PT between 2 & 3 surgeries, & Ns felt it did more harm than good, so take a conservative approach.

    Bad weather, yes, it's lousy here too. So I do "laps" abound the house...just keep moving, as you are doing. Signs of fusion will hopefully appear as you heal. I saw some "fog" around the hardware @ 6 weeks & now @ 1.5 yrs, I am fused, but NS said it will continue to get a little stronger yet.

    You are very early out! Take it easy---it's a LONG road! But walking is still (I feel) the very best thing you can do right now & also in the future.

    Good luck in your continued successful recovery! and don't forget to eat lots of PROTEIN to help mend those sore muscles! As they heal, you'll start to get stronger & will be able to walk further. It just takes time! Hang in there!

    Best to you~!


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