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8 weeks after acdf - dying to do something physical

emma1eemma1 Posts: 13
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:55 AM in Recovering from Surgery
I need suggestions and info on what other people did 8-10 weeks after the ACDF surgery. I am walking and hiking, but getting bored. I ride a stationery bike and read magazines. I still haven't had an x-ray?!?! I think it is scheduled for two weeks.

Let me know how your recovery progressed. Does anyone ski or ride ATVs after surgery? Horseback ride?


  • I have had 3 fusions, a 360 and then posterior and then anterior. I am fused L1 to S1. I was able to return to skiing (I teach skiing for a living) but I had to take a leave of absence for 1 1/2 winters (my first 2 fusions were only 7 months apart). It was very challenging getting into my ski boots the first time. I have learned how to manage things with no flexibility in my back. I also swam competitively before my surgeries. I got back in the pool after the incisions healed. Swimming is great for the back. It took awhile to be able to do flip turns again and my starts are a little different now but you just learn to adapt. I was also able to return to bike riding. It all takes time tho. Check with your doctor. You want to be sure you are starting to fuse before doing too much activity.

    Good luck and keep us posted on your recovery and activities.

    L4/L5 laminectomy, L4/L5 360 fusion with instrumentation, L1 to L5 fusion, L5/S1 fusion w/ disc replacement, left and right SI joints fused.
  • I'd responded to your question about horseback riding on your other thread but it just dissappeared..or didnt post do to operator error. Anyhoo...just wanted to give my 2 cents worth if I may. We all heal at different rates. i'd first and foremost talk to your Dr about what you should and shouldnt be doing. FWIW, we have a small jet boat that doesnt cruise smoothly across choppy waters. Going to the lake and riding in the boat @ 7mo post op wasnt comfortable to me. I think you should really take it easy right now. If you get on a horse just walk him/her. No galloping, no canter, no stretching it out! I guess i'm just an old goat at 46 and no way did I want to mess up my beginnings of a good fusion. Listen to your body...listen to your Dr. You'll be back in the saddle in no time Emma. You've got one chance to get this healing done right...do it perfectly!
  • You're right. I don't want to push it and I haven't got on the horse yet. Still waiting for x-rays to say that the fusion is happening.

    But......I want to know if horseback riding is in my future. If not, we need to sell the horses!
  • That's what I'm talking about! Lots of activity. There's light at the end of the tunnel. I can't believe you are back to skiing! I might opt out of downhill skiing and just cross-country. Honestly, I don't have that drive to downhill ski anymore. Can't explain why.

    Swimming sounds great. I swam competitively as a kid, but haven't in years.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,833
    Green Its Safe, go for it
    Yellow Use Caution, play it safe
    Red Stop, dont do it

    Before you think about getting into any more physical activities, discuss it with your doctor so that they can tell which color on how to proceed.
    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
  • You'll be able to ride again Emma, I don't know the level of your horsemanship...do you barrel race, or jump,or is it just pleasure riding. I don't think you'll need to sell the horses. If your in competition it might take you a while to get back to the level you were in. Even then, a fall could put you back under the knife. Just be smart! :)

  • I have a question for you. :-)
    I notice that you had autograft, and it looks like it was from your sternum. Is that correct?

    I have never heard of that before, but then am not an expert on cervical fusions.

    Have you found the area where the graft was taken from painful?

    ok, that was 2 questions!

    Keep up the good healing :D

  • Hey, Emma. I had a mva 6 months ago. Yesterday I walked on my horse for ten minutes. Ten minutes of bliss! I feel really great (burst fracture L-4) with minor pain. I will ride again--lots--very soon. Still with some headaches and some pain, but nothing I can't live with considering what happened to me and the level of pain I had. At 8 weeks there was no way I would have been able to ride my horse. Just remember that you are hurt and that you will heal. It is not permanent. good luck!
  • Hi Emma, I just got on a horse yesterday for the first time after my surgery 10/6/11. 5 1/2 months post-op from a L4/L5/Sl double fusion. I just walked for 5 minutes and was able to mount on the left side which was a no no for years. Surgery was the hardest thing I've ever gone thru but now I think it was worth it. At 8 weeks I thought the surgeon was a butcher but now I am drug free with mild pain everyday but trying to increase normal daily activites. I'm sure it will probably take a year to recover but I intend on riding since that's my passion. It's funny to think simple chores just wipe you out but doing them everyday is great therapy. Your body will tell you what you can and can't do.
    Don't give up and gaited horses are the way to go.
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