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Haven't been here in a while..

MLT01MMLT01 Posts: 172
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:40 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi everyone,

It's been a while..I'm 5 months post ALIF-PLIF fusion and 2 months post cleaning out of a infection in the back lumbar..

I started to go to the gym 3-4 times a week doing the bike and the elliptical trainer..I have been in allot of pain so not going as much and sleeping is becoming an issue..

I'm having issues while excersing all my toes go completely numb..

but don't want to give up..I saw the DR last week and is sending my for a routine reconstruction CAT SCAN to see if I'm fusing yet? I was wondering how long it took??? I know he mentioned there are cases were fusion fails?? a little concern..


spondylolisthesis at L4-5; stenosis,
Lumbar surgeries 1999 L4-L5
Lumbar staph infection 1999-2000"
Meningitis x5 in 1999-2001
Brain shunt 2000"
Brain shunt removed 20001"
ALIF/PLIF fusion 8/5/09


  • I can't give you much advice, but hopefully after your CAT scan, they will be able to tell you more.

    I know that you will get some wisdom and good advice here.

    I think that most people here think that walking is the best thing you can do while recovering. I know that it helps my sciatica pre-surgery.

  • You don't need to give up, but I would suggest cutting way back on your exercise. You may find that the elliptical trainer is aggravating your lumbar spine...or the bike could be doing it, too, depending on how aggressively you are riding it. If you notice, when you pedal, the buttocks moves around quite a lot. Depending on how much, this may be aggravating the healing also.

    Wait to resume these types of exercise until you have the results of the CT scan. Then I would suggest you take one at a time and start out slowing. Then gradually add another minute or two until you are doing the amount you want. If you have back or leg pain while doing it, reduce the amount of time you are exercising.

    Walking is the best exercise, with the fewest complications, when you are recovering from spinal surgery.

    Regarding the topic of fusion, the time it takes to fuse varies greatly. Some people begin to show some bone growth at 3 weeks. For others, it is not yet visible at 6 months. In all people, it takes a good year for the fusion to become solid, even if you began fusion at 3 weeks.

    There are cases where the bones do not knit together and fusion does not occur...but doctors do not usually call this a failure until after the first year, sometimes even a bit longer. You can read about it here: http://www.spine-health.com/treatment/spinal-fusion/fusion-surgery-considerations

    Again, walking is the best exercise for building bone, too.


  • It seems you've been through so much from reading your signature. I wish I could give you an answer on the fusing but like Gwennie said, most docs won't even talk about failed fusion until 1yr or more post op so please be patient.

    Before my lumbar became too severe to exercise I always walked and used the eliptical for 2-3hrs per day. After my fusion I tried the eliptical and it seemed to aggrevate my lumbar pain so I wasn't able to continue with it. The best exercise I can suggest is aqua therapy. It's amazing how well it works and you don't even realize it. You should check to see if there are any aqua therapy places around at the Physical therapy places in your area. If you get a prescription for it you could most likely get this paid by your insurance.

    Please keep us posted on your progress.

  • Thank you for your response..I will check out aqua therapy!!

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