Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Veritas-Health LLC has recently released patient forums to our Arthritis-Health web site.

Please visit http://www.arthritis-health.com/forum

There are several patient story videos on Spine-Health that talk about Arthritis. Search on Patient stories
Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
Attention New Members
Your initial discussion or comment automatically is sent to a moderator's approval queue before it can be published.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

What to do following a fusion?Help???

killian123kkillian123 Posts: 20
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:42 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi all, first timer here with a few q's.
On Feb12/10 I underwent a L5/S1 posterior fusion with rods and screws. I am now 3 weeks post-op and wondering what to do in terms of excercise, stretching etc. I would like to get myself in shape as quickly as possible. I do understand that the recovery could take up to year but i'd like to get some insights on some other peoples recovery and how they went about it.

Also, my surgery date was unexpexted as it was a cancelation so i had no prep time to quit smoking. Iam on champix at the moment and still smoke roughly 5 cigs a day. Is this going to drastically complicate my healing process?(kinda a dumb question)

Anyways if any of you have any info, opinions, suggestions, etc, they would be much appreciated.
Best wishes to all.


  • Nicotine inhibits fusion(bone growing together.) There are many patients, tho, that have no trouble fusing while using nicotine. It also prematurely ages your remaining discs. I applaud your effort to stop, I know that it is a hard thing to do.

    It seems like to me that many surgeons just want to do the surgery and that's it. In my personal opinion, physical therapy is SO important to get those muscle back in shape and strengthened to prevent further injury. If it were me and my incision was healed, I'd push for some water PT. You bear less weight in the water and can really increase your range of motion without the strain of your body weight. It's a great way to start before you graduate to land PT. Also, if you "hang" in the deep end for gentle traction, you are only bearing 5-10% of your body weight. It feels SO good to hang after exercising!

    Don't go on this mission without OK from your doc, but like I said, if it were me, I'd push to start with some water therapy! Good luck!
  • Welcome to Spine-Health.

    You're really still very early in your recovery and usually at your stage, there's absolutely no bending, lifting or twisting. Certainly no exercising other than walking. I'm surprised that you weren't given any post-op recovery materials telling you what you can and can't do.

    You really don't want to take any chances at undoing what's been done and overdoing it at this stage is really a great way to have a failed surgery. So please contact your surgeon before trying any activities. Recovery from spine surgery really is a long road and you have to take care of yourself for quite a while before you'll be able exert yourself very much.

    Take care,
  • Hi. eNurse and Cath111 have good advice.
    I would call your surgeon back and ask them for 'what next'. Sounds like you were a relatively urgent situation so perhaps in the rush of it all they thought they reviewed this information with you.

    No bending, twisting, lifting.
    In addition to smoking, they should have told you that ibuprofin (anti-inflammatories) or advil also inhibit bone growth so most want you to avoid those too. Stick to tylenol or whatever meds they sent you home with.

    I think walking is best but again, I haven't had a fusion so I would rely on your doctor's advice. However, since I was facing a fusion decision...most doctors I spoke to mentioned aqua therapy starting at about week 3 or 4. It's walking but in water so that you can start building your muscles without impact.

    You might want to ask about that.
    Sounds like you are doing pretty good considering you are thinking ahead like this.

    Also...great job on the quitting smoking. Not easy but make it a priority for you!
  • I had a 2 level fusion the same as yours in 2008. Please remember not to bend twist or lift, or reach above your head. My Ortho said no sitting excpet to eat or restroom. Except of course to Dr appt. That was for the first 3 months, and all that time I wasnt allowed to drive either.
    Check with your Dr and see what you are suppose to and not suppose to do. Walking is important. Alot of small walks are better than 1 big one per day.
    I hope you are doing well. My 2 level fused at 7 months. So just be careful and take it easy. You are very early in your recovery. It is a BIG surgery and takes alot of paitience. Take Care, Love, Robin
    And if you have any questions, please feel free too pm me.
  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084
    I'd be honest with your surgeon and tell him/her that kicking smoking has been hard and you've been trying. Tell him/her you know nicotine can inhibit fusion so would he/she agree to prescribe a bone growth stimulator. These are electrical units that create a field of electricity that aids in bone fusion. All too often doctors wait until they don't see fusion before prescribing these. I've been to 2 different spine surgeons here (one for my neck and one for my back) both prescribed bone growth stimulator units.

    Mine is two 3" electrodes on my back at the level of fusion (one on each side of the incision). The electrodes have 4" leads that hang off, and they connect to wires that go to a battery pack I put in my pocket, wear on a belt, or wear around my brace (I have a full rigid brace). I don't feel this at all, it gives no actual sensation to the skin or the tissues inside and it is silent. There are MANY different varieties but this is the one I have

    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 
  • Thank you all for your great advice and suggestions. I will be seeing my GP on Monday and hopefully he can clarify and clear me for a little water PT. I will also ask about the bone growth stim as well.
    Once again thanks and warm regards to all.
Sign In or Register to comment.