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Is it OK to Exercise Pre Op Lumbar TLIF Surgery?

BackToWorkBBackToWork Upstate NYPosts: 31
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:43 AM in Exercise and Rehab
Good Day! Is it OK and/or Beneficial to Exercise Pre Op Lumbar TLIF Surgery? I also have Stenosis and associated. I can't walk or stand for too long but I'm very flexible... I can do situps, pushups, and such. My sweetheart (who very well knows how flexible I still am...) is adamant about it being a bad idea.

I've had complications preventing my surgery for a long time and I've still got a long wait. I'm getting flabby in the tummy and generally my muscles are getting loose and weak.

I'm thinking that some core exercises would be beneficial and not do any damage... on the contrary, I believe the exercise will be beneficial for Post Op Rehab.

What are your thoughts and/or experiences?


  • Hi there.
    Since it sounds like you are getting some conflicting messages can I recommend you give your surgeons office a call and pose the question directly to them? I'm sure they will be happy to ask and get back with you.

    I'm not sure of your circumstances and what complications you have had but I can offer you my experience and what they told me pre TLIF. "Do whatever you can tolerate. The stronger you and your core is going in the easier it is recovering."

    Not to mention that fact that it is going to be awfully hard to take the weight off afterwards.

    I remember my surgeon kinda of smiling when I asked what I could and couldn't do before the surgery. He smiled and said, "trust me you'll know."

    With that said, Every surgeon is different. Make a call to yours and ask.
  • I would call your doc. If you are unsure about what is safe see if you can get a few sessions of PT to get you on the right track. I did PT before knee, rotator cuff and micro-d surgeries. My recovery was much quicker because of it. No one could believe how fast including the therapist and doctors.

  • First of all check with a doctor / PT

    Once you have the all clear to exercise and know which exercises you can safely do,
    then I think they can be very beneficial.
    I was fortunate to be able to walk and exercise daily right up to the day before my PLIF and laminectomy for spondylolisthesis and severe stenosis.
    I believe that being in the best shape I could, has really helped me in my recovery from surgery.
    I, like Kris, surprised all the nurses and my physiotherapist in the hospital after surgery. I never had to use a walker or a cane.

    Situps and pushups sound very ambitious, but certainly core stability exercises that don't stress your back sound good. BUT I would get advice in your particular situation as to what exercies would be tolerable.

    I wish you well with your surgery.
  • BackToWorkBBackToWork Upstate NYPosts: 31
    Thanks so much. Reading about your experiences is valuable information. I believe all that I've learned here, combined with the advice from my docs, will satisfy my sweetheart, and give me the appropriate guidance... maybe even some recommendations as to what exercises I should perform.

    Some "BACK"Ground History (love these spiney jokes!)

    My back began failing me this past November. December it got worse but I took piles of pain meds and remained employed. New Years Day found me in the VA ER... with two messed up Lumbars, Severe Stenosis, Spondylolisthesis, some nasty Herniations, etc... just about the same/similar nonsense as JellyHall... looks like a dog chewed up everything down there. My employment came to a screaching hault.

    I'm 48... my back has operated very well over the years... I've always been impressed with it's operation. My 3 brothers have had back problems for years. I never used more than antiinflamatory meds for pains that did pop up... I've always been very active, physical... my jobs have all been physical... we just moved this past fall... as was my reputation, I was like a Machine! But that was probably the death blow for my lumbars and all.

    Soon after the real pain started... I developed Edema real bad in my feet... like watermelons they were... it intrigued the med staff... So after a lot of tests including Xrays, blood tests, 2nd MRI, Flex Extension XRAys, sonogram, echocardiogram, ekg, nuclear stress test, cardio catheterization... a second cath to check the flow, determined there was a blockage in an artery (LAD)... so I had 2 overlapping stents installed... which of course included the post op blood thinners.

    Once the VA Cardiology Dept clears me for surgery... hopefully at the end of this month... then I can get started at the Neurosurgeon clinic... and then they have all their tests and whatnot to do... new MRI and/or CT Scan... or whatever...

    So It will be a while before I get "BackToWork". We're holding the fort financially... with empty pockets and half an income. My Girl has a decent job but just not enough to sustain our extremely simple living. We're getting by with whatever assistance we can muster up from the local social services and family.

    Honestly, I'm not too upset about any of it. I feel like I'm getting some much needed repairs and renovations that will prevent upsets and inconvenience (or worse) in the future. I didn't really care for that job I had anyway. I'm over the whole physical occupation thing too. I'm looking forward to adjusting to a New Life.

    My disposition has been at least 80 percent on the bright, positive, sunny side. We're enjoying ourselves, grabbing the moments, and not waiting to Live Life... or put it on hold. In fact we feel that this IS Life and it should be enjoyed just as a picnic in the park... which we'll be off to this very afternoon.

    I do find that writing does help with disposition maintenance and I do hope that some of the information I provide here helps others.

    I'm taking Lortabs and Diclofenac for the Pain. Plavix, 1 regular Asprin, a Blood Pres pill, a Water pill... I was on Simvastatin but stopped it because it was suspected that it was causing some Insomnia that developed. I believe the Lortabs are causing me Gastrointestinal discomforts mostly constipation.

    Some of the supplements I take (and have always taken) include Centrum, B-complex, Fish Flax Borage Salmon Oil, Calcium Maganesium Zinc... my latest one is Taurine... an awesome amino for the eyes, heart, other... look it up... inexpensive at Vitacost.com

    Oh, and here's something bizarre... a day after coming home from the stent procedure... I noticed that I wasn't using my Reader Glasses. While working on my tiny NetBook computer, with a screen the size of your average pocket watch... things looked noticeably clearer. I looked around the house and same... things looked sharper. I tested my eyes on some med bottle lables, reading ingredient labels, small print stuff... normal range... wearing a pair of spair somewhat dirty contacts that I had taken to the hospital with me... Low and Behold! My EyeSight Improved!!! ...and my eyes in general feel more comfortable.

    I'm not Exactly sure why, what, how... could be the stents... I do feel more energetic as well. The Taurine mentioned above is noted to be extremely important for the eyes. I had been taking that for the month previous to the Stent procedure. Could be that or maybe a combination of things... better circulation being one of them.

    The injuries and meds have not effected our love life (Awesome as Ever!)... TeamWork!!! ...and it's the best pain/dispostion med available. Lots of Oxytocin and other great feel-good brain chemistry does wonders for everything. We have a Memory Foam Mattress... highly recommended... no pain or discomfort at all when I'm in bed sleeping or otherwise. One night at a Hotel and in the Hospital on regular mattresses was brutal.

    We're careful, safe, and smart. I get out as much as possible. I use the walker or the little electric cars at the shopping facilities we visit. It's a bit of a self-esteem hit but it's worth it to get out into the world. Leaning over and pushing a shopping cart works pretty good... especially the small ones.

    Thanks Again for your time... and your Kindness!

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