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When is it ok to really go for "The Burn"

TonyDiscTTonyDisc Posts: 26
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:42 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I am day 24 post op now. The Neck is not sore, the wound is healed, and only a very very slight pain down the arm when rotating the neck all the way to one side.

I have been doing light weights in the gym, but now I am wondering:

- When is it ok to start putting the weights up to a point where I can get some muscle burn going? So long as there is no pain, is it ok to start lifting fairly heavy again?

And this leads me on to my second question:

- If the nerve is not fully healed yet, will it be good to stimulate the muscles this way, or will it be damaging, or will it be just plain fruitless?

I read somewhere that exercising the muscles can help the nerves recover, I didn't quite get that. But since there is no real way of telling if the nerve has healed or not, is it ok to just go ahead and start working out like nothing is wrong?




  • Howdy Tony,

    I would first ask your surgeon what he feels about this. My pure guess is he/she might want you to wait a bit. What gets people "re-hurt" is they start feeling better, go right back to what hurt them before, and blammo! See what your doctor says first Tony - better safe than sorry right?

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Nerves depend upon a good blood supply to heal and stay healthy. This in turn helps the muscles by giving them better signal "quality" from the nerves. (this is a very generalistic view of it). So in essence, getting your cardiovascular and respiratory system back "on line" should help things heal. Of course the trick is to find the boundary of where what you do is too much versus not enough. The big thing is not to go from lifting say only 15lb dumbbells to 40's in a day or even a week. I found that the best thing is to step things up in a manner like this...

    Say Monday I started out doing curls and extensions using 15lb dumbbells. Say 3-4 sets of 15 reps. I use the same weights until I get up to doing 4 supersets in a row with the same weight and up to 20 reps. If this is no longer a challenge then I will step it up by 5 lbs per dumbbell and repeat the same process.

    I found that by stepping it up in a manner like this, I can avoid making myself hurt so bad (muscle spasms in the neck and shoulders) that I can progress at a decent rate.

    If I find I am getting too much tension in the neck and shoulders, I have to hold or back down to the previous weight.

    Now this is based on my capabilities and my physical limitations. Everyone is different. I am just trying to see if I can explain what I have found works for keeping me from taking 1 step forward and 3 backward.

    Please make certain that moving forward and accelerating your workout regimen is approved by your surgeon.

  • thanks yeah i think thats a good idea, just up the reps alot and up the weights a little, that should get the burn going without entering "pop" territory.

  • Hi,

    I know the cervical MicroD's are different than Lumbar but I tought the same rule of thumb applies.

    Not bending, twisting, or lifting for at least 6 weeks. But generally 3 months and then most doctors say ramp up slowly b/c it takes 6-12 months to fully heal.

    I would contact your doctor because spine surgeries aren't like an 'injury' that you recover from and 'push through'.

    From someone who reherniated in the 1st 3 months b/c "she thought she was feeling ok and figure the faster I could get back to normal the faster I'd heal". I thought I was gradually increasing my activity too. I was 'following orders' but loosely.

    I just say from someone who reherniated and is now recovering from revision microD, it's not worth the risk. Check with your doctor. Don't just rely on other's opinions.

    I did a ton of reading and found that 6 weeks is standard but some doctors believe 3-months is the better mark to use for complete 'healing' of the surgical incision (inside).

    Good luck. I know it's frustrating but from my point of view, I wish I sat on the sidelines for the 3 months b/c now I'm 7 months on the side lines.
  • I had a spinal fusioh 10 days ago. I was walking twice a day at 20 minute intervals per day. The nurse looked at me and said You have to be kidding. This is expected at 6 weeks not 10 days. No wonder I hurt. Asked her was 10 minutes a day twice a day ok and she said yes.

    So I am becoming sissy sharon. Only a little a day and later when I heal up and some one says pick that up Sharon I am going to say sorry Sissy Sharon does ot do that. I am protecting this back.

    Hugs to all from
    Sissy Sharon (8)
  • Im a lumbar guy not a Cervical.. but I also got back into the gym last week. (that was 3 weeks post op) I did real light stuff like elliptical, 4 sets of 5 pullups, upright, seated chest machine with 125,140,155 and 20 minutes of freestyle swimming. I was pretty sore all over from that cuz I havent do anything for 6 months so I figure theres no rush to LOAD up the weights. My friend that had cervical discectomy told me he went all light weight high reps. Hes a year post op and he recently just won a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu tournament as a purple belt.. I'd say thats a pretty good recovery..good luck!
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