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gaj399ggaj399 Posts: 270
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:41 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Here's a dumb question that I should know the answer to because I've already had 2 back surgeries.

How hard will it be to get up and down stairs?

Our old house was all on one level so I didn't have to do any stairs for weeks after surgery. Our new house is nothing but stairs. Their are 14 just to get to the bedrooms which are upstairs. I already have a horrible time getting up and down them now and worry that I wont be able to get up to the bedroom after surgery.

It is possible that we could turn one room downstairs into a bedroom, but I was hoping this wouldn't be necessary.

Once again thanks for everyones help.


  • They will not let you out of the hospital until you can "do stairs." You won't want to make many trips up and down each day, but you can go up and down as needed. I didn't have any trouble doing stairs...but I converted our den into my recovery area. We moved a twin bed into the room and that's where I stayed during the day and at night, too. I bought a memory foam mattress and the bed was very comfortable. It was near the powder room and the kitchen, the big screen TV and the computer, so I was all set!!

    I actually did it because we have two large dogs who are not allowed upstairs. I didn't want to be away from them during the day while my husband was at the office...so I chose to make these arrangements. It worked great, and I'll be doing it again in two weeks!!

  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,875
    I know several North East and Central State big hospitals that never require 'stairs' as part of their release program. And that was for all kinds of Spinal patients as well as other joint related surgeries.

    Stairs can get difficult to use. Up until I was 50, we lived in multi-floored houses. I did have to go up and down 15 or so steps several times a day after my surgeries. It was definitely easier with my cervical surgeries then lumbar. And it wasnt right away. For the first couple of days home from the hospital I stayed on the main level.

    We moved to our pre-retirement house (Boat Slip, Private Golf course, Private tennis courts, etc)
    and its all one floor.

    I do have steps into the basement and as each year goes by those steps get harder and harder. Now, for the first couple of hours after I get up, the only way I can go down the steps is sideways. I can just walk down straight one foot after another.

    And that I know over the years will continue to become more difficult
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • Stairs...I was surprised that they didn't include that in my 'release' this time.

    The hint I was given last time was use your STRONG leg to lead going up stairs. And use your STRONG leg to follow going down.

    The key is going up stairs your strong leg should take the first step because it will provide the most support.

    Going down, leave your strong leg as the 'plant' leg going down.

    But ask them to include this in your PT/OT assessment before being discharged especially if you need to get upstairs to get to where you'l be recovering.
  • Thanks all. Like I said I should know these things but it's amazing the things I've forgotten over the years. LOL. As far as the strong leg thing, that's going to be a hard one, although my left leg should be the weak one because that's the side that's the worst, it is actually my right leg that just plain gives out on me. So I think I'll take Dnice's advise and talk alot to PT before release from the hospital. Once again thanks all, this site has got to be the greatest thing for spineys anyone could have.
  • I have not had surgery yet but know one day I will have to. Last week I tried to go back to work as a tril for 4 hours ( failed miserably), when I arrived home I was in so much pain I had to climb the crab walk up 17 stairs to get into the house.
    The following day I did not make it back to work, I went to the pain clinic after returning home agiain I crab walked up the stairs being pulled up the last 2 stairs by my husband. I am affraid to go out now. Old houses steep and narrow stiarways are not are friends. I can't imagine what's it's like to climb stairs after surgery.
  • The stairs are hard to start but get easier. Just don't try and carry anything (drinks etc) with you. I had to (and still do on bad days) use my arms and the banister to haul myself up the stairs. My stairs are really steep though.
  • I agree with everyone's comments. Now, I always make sure I hold on to the railing, but I can carry stuff in my other hand. For the first couple of weeks I was using a walker so I needed the help of my hubby. I only went up once (to go got bed) and down once (after I got up) for those first weeks. It does get easier.

    A story for those folks that have neck surgery and wear a hard neck brace: I was upstairs a lot and found going up and down not difficult using the hand rail. The problem was that when I was upstairs, I was on the computer and wore glasses. One time I forgot to take my glasses off and got two steps down before I realized they were still on and got vertico really bad and almost fell down the stairs. So even for those folks with lumbart surgery, be careful if you wear glasses for reading and forget to take them off when going up or down. It can be a big problem.

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