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

This is all so confusing

beaverbbeaver Posts: 189
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:46 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
How do you know what is too much? When we saw hubby's surgeon, or rather primarily his assistant, he said hubby could do whatever he wanted EVEN GOLFING and he would not damage the fusion process. But he also said he should not carry more than two bags of groceries. He starts PT on Monday and I am hoping that they will give him more direction on what he should not be doing. Because on here so many are saying not to BLT until the fusion takes.


  • I haven't had fusion surgery but think it's wise to follow the PT and Surgeon's advice on what your husband can do as for playing golf seems too early right now. We don't have Physicians Assistants here yet so not sure of their qualifications as they're not Drs? Good luck for him starting PT. Take care. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • Howdy Beaver! My fusions thus far are the neck. My surgeon, when he released me for more activity, still had some weight restrictions on me. He basically told me to 'let my body' be my guide. Same as you heard, at that point short of a bad car accident or something, I wouldn't do any damage to the fusion site. Is that what he meant?

    If he golfs, and he feels anything such that the nerves are being affected, then of course stop. If it isn't hurting and he hasn't golfed in a while, he hopefully will wake with only muscle soreness. I am assuming he has hardware? That might be why the weight considerations.

    Of course too, you said this came from the PA and not the surgeon? If new activities aren't clear, ask to speak directly to the surgeon. This way hopefully it will clear everything up, and make you all more comfortable. Talk again soon. *HUG*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • My husbands surgeon told him after his fusion that he could go do whatever he wanted to do after the fusion! No limitations at all, I thought that was very odd. Needless to say, my husband did not do whatever he wanted to do, the surgery failed. I am not sure how all of these surgeons work?!
  • from anyone who tells you that you will be as good as new after a fusion. It is not true -- no way, no how. Sure -- you can probably do anything you want, but will it hurt you? YES! A fusion is only done when you have seriously, horribly, hurt yourself. Once they put you back together again, you have to be careful. I had a three-level -- L3 to S1. The very thought of playing golf is ludicrous. Sure, I can walk, I can probably even jog a little, but I CANNOT twist like that. Your husband will not be magically turned back into a fit and happy 20 year old. If the doctor says that will happen. He's nuts.
    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • Here's an article written by a neurosurgeon that specifically addresses returning to golf after having a lumbar fusion.
    DrMRMc said:
    Recovery after Lumbar Fusion

    Fusion operations typically require a 2-3 month period of back external immobilization (bracing) to help the bone graft and fusion solidify. In order for the fusion mass (bone mass) to solidify movement must be kept to a minimum. The metal screws and rods placed to augment the fusion act as an internal brace to maximize stiffness in this region. This internal immobilization is often combined with an external back brace (either hard plastic or soft girdle with support panels), and sometimes a bone fusion stimulator, as well.

    During the first 12 weeks after surgery extensive range in motion is limited to allow bone healing. Although the initial internal metallic construct is strong, over time it could ultimately fail if bone cells (osteoblasts) don't migrate into the fusion area and form a new bone matrix in and around the hardware. The metallic screws and rods act like rebar whereas the in-growth of bone offers the true concrete that creates a lasting solid fusion.

    During the first 12 weeks activity should be limited to walking only. At a period of three months after surgery Xrays are obtained to verify the fusion is in progress. If the Xrays show evidence of an advancing fusion, the brace can be discontinued.

    During the post-operative period between weeks 12 and 16 usually only a light stretching regimen is initiated. This consists of abdominal and low back muscle stretching. After 24 weeks of recovery I typically will allow patients to begin swinging short irons at the practice range if they are doing well and are experiencing a good recovery from their pre-operative symptoms. Light swinging at 24 weeks after surgery is not universally accepted; some surgeons recommend a longer convalescence. In fact, some spine surgeons like to keep their fusion patients off any swinging regimen until a full six to nine months of recovery has been completed.

    "For my fusion patients, I really like to start them back very slowly." Says AXD, M.D., well known neurosurgeon at the University of Florida who cares for many professional golfers. He adds: "I keep them from swinging for six months after their surgery, and then we start from scratch with stretching and flexibility."
    GR, Jr., M.D., well known sports medicine spine surgeon (neurosurgeon) at Emory University emphasizes that golf rehabilitation after fusion must be individualized. "Treatment must be tailored to the individual patient and what their overall clinical situation mandates. Since some patients don't even begin to see the benefits of their fusion until six to nine months after the operation, a good population of these patients will not be ready to return to swinging until a six month recovery period." He adds: "If, however, there is good Xray evidence of a maturing fusion at 16-20 weeks after surgery and the patient's symptoms have resolved, I feel it is probably safe for them to begin their golf rehabilitation at 20 weeks post-operatively." If all is well at 24 weeks after surgery he encourages his fusion patients to return to light swinging with the proviso that any flare up of pain is an automatic pause for the golf rehabilitation phase until a total of six to nine months have passed since surgery.

    The importance of a warm-up and cool down period that consists of easy stretching and range of motion exercises cannot be overemphasized. This is part of "low back maintenance" and needs to be considered a part of life for any patient with back pain. I try to emphasize to my patients that back stretching and warm-up is like flossing your teeth or warming your car up in cold weather. It is something that one must do every time as a routine.

    If the patient continues an uneventful recovery they can be advanced to mid-range iron shots with light swinging at 24 weeks post-op. This can be advanced to the long irons and woods by 28 weeks. A controlled range practice with limitations on number of balls hit is safer and easier on the recovery compared to embarking on a round of eighteen or even 9 holes.

    When playing "live golf" players are often faced with a variety of shots that require them to alter their stance, posture, and leg position. In addition, the varied surfaces i.e. thick vs. thin rough, downhill or uphill lies, and sand present too varied a swing resistance for the recovering patient. Most often it is not the predicted movement or swing that causes injury or recurrent injury, but the unpredicted shift in weight, accidental turn, or unexpected resistance during the swing that is the recipe for trauma. Probably the most common statement on the injured golfer heard in clinic is: "I hit the ball fat, doc, and that's when my back started to flare up."

    At 28 weeks after surgery patients can begin to play short 9 hole rounds of golf. It is important again to emphasize to patients that they should strictly adhere to only nine holes because as one fatigues their potential for re-injury increases. When playing, patients should not hit thick rough shots or angled lies. These ball positions should be avoided completely during the recovery phase. If you ever wanted a doctor's excuse to carry out on the course with you to give you a special dispensation this is the time to do it. Sand shots can be allowed but only from shallow traps. Deep pot bunkers should be avoided at all costs as the power necessary to extricate a ball from this treacherous region could undo all the good work your surgeon performed some 28 weeks ago.


    Golf after lumbar fusion is feasible and encouraged by most sports medicine oriented spine surgeons provided that the proper recovery period has passed and the patient's pre-operative symptoms have improved. Proper back hygiene is paramount including warm-up and cool down stretching and exercises at any round of golf.

    Important points to remember:

    * Always warm-up and warm-down with stretching exercises prior to any round of golf or range practice

    * Move your ball out of angled lies, thick rough, and pot bunkers rather than take the shot

    * Stop playing if you experience a flare-up of symptoms and do not resume your activities for at least a month

    * Always speak with your doctor prior to initiating any activities, particularly golf after spine surgery
  • Thank you so much for posting the article! It really helped me even though I am not a golfer! It helped me to know that even at 24 weeks post, there is still a lot of healing occuring! I am so thankful for you posting and for Beaver initiating this thread! :) Thank you all!

  • My surgeon told me that I would have no restrictions after surgery. I was amazed and decided that he must have meant once my recovery and fusion were complete.

    Then at 10 days, he gave me the all clear to drive and get back to my life, including bending!

    At 2 months, he said I could get back to my life and do anything. I asked him if that meant things like picking up my granddaughter, gardening and vacuuming. He then advised that I should wait another couple of months.

    I am doing well, but I regularly overdo it and cause pain.

    I am probably more cautious than my surgeon, but I am the one who feels the pain if I don't take care!

    I would tend say to definately not do more than your surgeon advises but also to listen to your body, and stop if you experience pain. The trouble is that often by the time we feel the pain, we have overdone it and it takes a while to recover.
  • As one who went back to my old life of doing anything and everything after a fusion in 06' and then having to go through a revision surgery because there wasn't fusion I say BS to what a lot of surgeons will tell you. I would add more time to what Hag posted in article. I say none of it until you have positive proof that your fused.

    Trust me that you don't want to have to go through a revision fusion surgery if you can help it.
  • Believe me, hubby is going to read every one of these especially the golf one. That one I will put on the fridge and memorize. Just does not make sense to me that he would jeopardize his fusion rushing out to chase a ball around. Can you guess I am not a golfer.
  • BKins said:
    As one who went back to my old life of doing anything and everything after a fusion in 06' and then having to go through a revision surgery because there wasn't fusion I say BS to what a lot of surgeons will tell you.
    A trained and experienced neurosurgeon with current credentials is certainly someone worth listening to. I think my neurosurgeon would be quite amused if I told him I thought he did spectacular work, however his aftercare instructions were BS.

  • haglandc said:
    BKins said:
    As one who went back to my old life of doing anything and everything after a fusion in 06' and then having to go through a revision surgery because there wasn't fusion I say BS to what a lot of surgeons will tell you.

    A trained and experienced neurosurgeon with current credentials is certainly someone worth listening to. I think my neurosurgeon would be quite amused if I told him I thought he did spectacular work, however his aftercare instructions were BS.

    That is my opinion and it came from my experience from 2 different very well known and respected surgeons. Once you know your fused its another ballgame was my point. I have often wondered just how much time these neurosurgeons, with CREDENTIALS, spend on aftercare during their training. My guess is very little. What is the definition of a successfull surgery?
  • Beaver,

    First of all we are all different, and know one knows how well the surgery went better than the Dr and your husband. Barring other complications or problems we don't know about, he should do fine. Mine was April 12th and the first 1-3 months were rough. Especially the first. I do not bend straight down from the waist still, but dip and yes there is some forward bending there. Don't lift over 25 to 30lbs. Over 25 would be seldom. But at 4.5 months I am off all meds and feel great. Some leg numbness but minor and doesn't effect me. I stopped the Nuerontin for the nerve pain due to a posssible reaction to it. Don't need it anyway. I quit PT, they wanted too much to soon. But, I did do whatever I felt up too. Did not baby anything and think I am better for it. Movement and activity help bone growth. Not promoting excess. But, he will know when he over did it. Initially, to much dipping was felt in my back and legs, that has stopped. Don't know about golf, I would wait till fused. That is a lot of twisting. It is hard to damage the rods/screws. I think I am doing well because I can't sit still. Was helping around the house the first month, albeit gingerly.

    Point is, don't hold back. His body will tell him when he over did it. Just don't do something dumb.

    I would give golf awhile yet until fusion is done or close to it. The short iron idea may be OK sometime soon. And, other than the Olympics, all else is on the table.

    This is just my opinion from my personal experience. Don't know your exact situation, so the Dr is the best source of advice.

  • hubby started PT on Monday. The focus is to build up his core muscles so they will compensate for the back. We tried these several months before the operation and the pain was just too intense for him to continue. His PT was quite surprised at his level of fitness (all that walking I guess and he was active despite his pain before). I am doing them with him and my muscles are screaming at me! He is still having no pain whatsoever in muscles and back. Is he just lucky? Who knows I guess.
  • I was an avid golfer most of my adult life. In 2000, I had a knee replacement which shelved my golfing for 4 months but I got back to it. After my fusion surgery in 2000, I thought my golfing days were over. When I was released by my surgeon 6 months after my fusion, I asked him if I could ever golf again. He said to be smart about it and to listen to my body. Two years after my fusion, I started playing golf again. I now play 9 holes, every week weather permitting, starting in early May and finishing up in October. I have suffered no ill effects. I did modify my swing and don't take chances on steep side hill lies.

    Emergency surgery in March of 2006 for spinal infection of L 2 and L 3. During surgery, discovered I had Cauda Equina Syndrome. Spine became unstable after surgery and had 360 fusion with 10 pedicle screws, plates and rods in April of 2007.
Sign In or Register to comment.