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  • It took about 6-8 months for me to feel strong after my L4-S1 PLIF. The recovery is truely brutal. That being said at the 1 year mark my lumbar spine feels like 100%. I still get sore if I am on my feet for too long or over do it but at this point my lumbar spine is stronger than it had been in about 10 years. I have as much (if not more) flexibility than before. But the best thing is the NO PAIN in the back, legs, feet, no sciatica!. I do have very minor numbness in one of my feet/toes that will probably never go away. Not a bad trade off.

    I have heard of many botched fusions. Maybe they were screwed up by poor surgeon or were done for the wrong reasons. I only know that mine was very good for me. I had a great spring and was back to my old activities as a direct result of my successful fusion.

    There are things that I just wont do any more. Like snow machines and 4 wheelers. I think about putting my back at risk (should have been doing that all along). I ask for help more when it comes free (like letting the clerks carry out my groceries). I ask hubby for help with "man" chores whereas before I just did everything.

    Now if I can get the neck handled I will be happy again.

    Good luck,

  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084
    You may be able to return to weight lifting - but it will depend on how much and your body mechanics. If your doctor ever gives you the go ahead make sure to try to work with a physical therapist for proper weight techniques.

    I had a two level fusion in 1993 in my 20's. I did do roller coasters a bit, but only if I could move with the coaster and it wasn't too jarring. For example, Space Mountain at Disney is not a good one - you are in the dark and can't predict the twists and turns. Now, I wouldn't do them as I just don't want to jostle my spine in that way.

    I've canoed, sailed, hiked (including taking a face first trip down a local mountain - ouch!), cross country skied, horseback rode, snorkeled, rafted and tubed, etc, in all the years since. After you recover it shouldn't affect the love life. For everything I do I make sure I'm never in any situation where my back isn't in a good ergonomic position. When I was traveling a lot for work I invested in good inflatable pillows for my back and neck, etc.

    The key is allow your body to heal before you consider any physical activity of any significant level. And when you are all recovered always keep in your mind that you want to take care of your back so the repair and the spine last into the future if at all possible. All too often I see people who decide they are "tough" and they do more than they should...then they wonder why they are in pain and/or not recovering well.
    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 
  • the weight lifting, but the other activities sound do-able. I'm not sure about the love life thing. I'm single, so haven't really tried that part yet. I've had a three-level fusion. The desire is there, but man -- I can imagine it might be a bit uncomfortable. Some day I hope to check it out.

    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • My doc wanted to do a double on me and I chickened out. I made the executive decission to only have the worst one done now and in a few years, go back for the second. I am regreting that decission.
    I like to think that I am very active. I ride motorcycles, horseback, and I love to dance. I have a physical job and I love it. Before my surgery, all of these things were very painful and most of the time un-do-able. Do chicken out. Get it done and move on. I have a friend who is 63 years old. She has had a triple fusion and can do way more than I dreamed of before my surgery. She is my rock and I wish I had listened to her before I made my choice.
    Good luck and just think of all the fun things you can do once you have healed.
  • Oh - one big worry that I was warned of - 'you won't be able to move as well, you won't be as flexible afterwards' - that from my NS.

    My reply - well, it's agonizing pain now (pre-op) when I move that way. I'd much rather have it fused and not moveable than have to have the pain tell me when I've bent the wrong way!
  • Take it easy the first year, don't overdo it. After a 3-6 months you should be healed enough to return to normal activites that don't require a lot of bending/lifting/twisting.

    My surgeon told me I could do pretty much anything but to use common sense (if it bothers you don't do it). Roller coasters I personally would hold off of til you are completed fused as that causes a lot of twisting.

    I am nearing a year post op double fusion w/ hardware and have been on several roller coasters without issue. Just talk to your surgeon. Weight lifting I would definately talk to him and your physical therapist if he sends you to one and get their opinions on what types you can do after surgery and how far you can push it.

    Canoeing shouldn't be an issue after you are fully healed but once again that puts pressure on your lower back and causes some twisting.

    Sex just let your partner do the work for awhile ;-)

    Also this site is GREAT pre and post surgery. I remember not being able to fall asleep after surgery due to pain or discomfort, I'd hope on the site and chat for hours til I fell asleep. It's nice to chat with others who know what you are going through, also some great people here and a great online support system. Just remember your surgeon is boss tho, ask him before making any changes.
  • I had a L4 Thru S1 fusion with cages and rods and the 9 yards last thursday the 21's....I had sex Wednesday nite, You have to be careful but it can be done........I am just happy to report everything still works and make sure if you are a male your partner is on top but no weight on the back. Sure as hell seemed to help my pain....LOL
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