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Starting Physical Therapy

tonyanwisconsinttonyanwisconsin Posts: 189
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:42 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Well I am starting PT next week. I prob. could have started this week but need late appts so my husband can bring me. I did something really stupid last night. I bent over. Wow..pain was really bad and my back hurt all night. I kept telling my husband. "I am so stupid. Why did I do that?"
I am 3 1\2 weeks out now. Still needing my pain meds every 6 hours. My husband took me out for about 30 minutes to the store yesterday. I am getting so tired of being in my house all the time. Sitting up longer than 30 minutes hurts. How is everyone else doing at this point? Lynette how are things with you? I bought a cane to use when I have to walk long distances. I had a walker when I got home but quit using that after about a week.
Even though I am a registered nurse I don't know how I stack up as far as recovery with everyone else. How is life like for those that were around 3 weeks post op? Hearing that will help me.



  • Boy I'm glad i haven't done the bend thing cuz just twisting half unconscious in bed and I notice it. I think you are on track for normal recovery whatever that is.I notice I can sit up a little longer than last week. I watch pretty careful and don't do more than 20 min at a time. I have walked outside 2x today 10min each. I can do a flight of stairs but only once a day if I need to. I am down to 2-3 pain pills a day. Do you ice your back at all?? I find that if I ice 20min after walking or sometimes still at night I think I do better. I am ready for another outing too!! It sucks the weather is going to get really cold again too. I use my cane also when outside or doing stairs and wear my brace. Do you have a brace? I think that helps with support and less quick fatigue. I can't wait to drive again and just mall walk again!! Hang in there we are right on track! Lynette
  • Yes, I would agree with Lynette. Sounds like you are doing very well. Remember that it is not an admirable goal to sit for a long time!! Sitting puts 30% more pressure on the discs than either standing or walking. Until you have a solid fusion, it is really better to limit sitting...particularly this early in your recovery.

    Be sure to use good posture and body mechanics. You will find it difficult to maintain good posture in any over-stuffed furniture. Also it's a good idea to break yourself of the habit of crossing one leg over the other, if you are used to doing that. Try to focus keeping your weight centered as much as possible...and keep the weight equally distributed on both "sit bones."

    I barely left the house with my one level fusion two years ago for the first eight weeks. Of course it was Jan. in the frozen northland so there was no where to go! I took my prescription meds round the clock for the first eight weeks also.

    I did not start PT until 16 weeks...so you can see how different surgeons have different approaches.

    You might want to try to get rid of the cane as soon as you can unless your doctor told you to use it. It results in uneven muscle and soft tissue balance as you tend to favor one side over the other. For this reason, a walker is better, if you really need the support.

    Sounds like you are both doing very well. Just remember, you are very early in your recovery...so try to be patient with yourself, and learn to listen to your body. For now, your most important activities are resting and walking.
  • I'm 6-weeks out on revision MicroD and am due to start PT next week. I'm just trying to locate a specialist closer to home.

    Considering you had a fusion, I'd say you are doing ok. I'm off pain meds (except occassional breakthrough ...trying to keep it to 1X/week max).

    As Gwennie says, I told my doctor I can't sit for more than 15-20 mins...he was surprised (I'm not a fusion patient) but also told me that it's worse than standing so it's ok and I should listen and get up and walk. I can stand for about 35 mins still without having to move around due to leg pain. This is lousy too but compared to what it used to be (10-15mins) I'm improving there.

    So, considering your surgery was a fusion, I'd say I'm quite impressed.

    I've been ultra cautious this time so I completely appreciate the cabin fever thing. Nice weather and I'm asking hubby to join me on walks outside which he graciously does. I was only cleared to drive yesterday so tomorrow is my 1st adventure driving myself in 6.5 weeks! But, before that I would have my husband take me for a 'car ride' to get coffee or to get gas in his car just so I could feel like I was getting out. We made sure I wasn't in the car for more than 10-15 mins.

    Keep up the good work. Remember to be completely honest with your PT person. And, you may hurt after the first sessions but don't be discouraged.
  • Hi Tonya

    I'm 5 months out and still can't sit for more than 30 mins at a time. For me, the best thing is to break up all activities in small sections and walk in between.

    Apart from simple stretching, squats, calf raises, pelvic floor and walking, I didn't start PT until 4 months.

    The old "four walls syndrome" is horrible. I was lucky that the weather was warm during the early recovery period and going out for walks in the park kept me sane. We've just been through our hottest and driest summer ever here in Perth, and having to stay in and watch so much TV in the afternoons because it was too hot to go out and walk drove me nuts. Now that it's cooler, I'm sane again. LOL

    Good that hubby got you out to the store.

    Hope the rest of your recovery goes well.


    XLIF L2-4 20.8.15
    ALIF L4/5 2009
    Laminectomy/discectomy L4/5 2008
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,839
    that nurses are not always the best patients. Thats because they spend a life time being caretakers for so many other people, they can neglect themselves.

    Physical Therapy is a phased process.

    But before you even get to the actual Physical Therapy there are things you need to keep in mind:

    1. Check with the center you are going to to verify what kind of equipment they have, the number of therapists vs technicians, etc

    2. Once you do start, Make sure you stay with the same thereapist. Now there will be scheduling conflict at times, but it is so important to have the same person. A trained therapist can be your best advocate. They will be able to spot things about you that many never notice.

    During my last set of years of therapy, I had one therapist that knew my body better than I ever could. When I would walk into the center, she could tell what could be going on just by the way I walked, sat, etc. I came to have complete trust in her, that I would have done anything she asked me to.

    Initially you will have a PT evaluation where they go over your medical charts and do many physical observations to determine your problems, the degree of the problem and how to best proceed.

    Then you will get your physical therapy schedule.
    As I said stay with the same therapist. Initially the first number of sessions are going to be painfull. In fact you may walk away saying, no more, I am not going through this. This is normal.
    For some people, it may take up to 2 to 3 weeks before they start to see some progress.

    Then slowly, the conservative approaches may turn into more aggressive treatment. Here is where I start to flounder about the continuance of therapy.
    Only because many therapists are in great shape, so the expectation level might be higher than what you are capable of doing. In the past I have had therapist that wanted me to 'run' fast on threadmills, do a lot with weights, etc. All that hurt me much more than it helped.

    So just listen to your body. You know when too much is too much. And if you have questions, discuss it with your therapist and doctor
    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
  • We nurses very often have a stubborn nature, and know try to manage our own care.

    My surgeon usually allows PT after 12 weeks post fusion, but I wanted to start pool therapy at 3 weeks. After a couple of weeks, I had really flared things up, and had to back off for a month. I'm 4 months out, and down to formal PT once a week. Honestly, the walking has been the best mode of therapy for me. I do like the very careful stretching as well.

    Every week is better, and feel more fluid and flexible, but am still very weak, and my muscle strength is one to pity...haha Like trishdownunder, I have to plan my activities with rest. I still only do light chores around my house, which was difficult at first, because I was a neat/clean freak. Also, watch your step...I still am careful to avoid falling, esp. on stairs, wet surfaces, loose gravel. I felt more stable with shoes on than without.

    Tonya, it is a long road (I'm still on that road)...take one day at a time. Nothing is worth any risk to you having a solidily fused spine... :-)

    Take care,


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