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Do you exercise after fusion?

ohmybackoohmyback Posts: 39
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:59 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Out of curiosity, how many of you exercise since you had surgery? I am 10 months out from lumbar fusion, but still experiencing a great deal of pain, both muscular and nerve. Exercise and physical activity make the pain considerably worse.

I really want to get into better shape, as I imagine this will probably improve my level of pain. So how many of you exercise regularly, and what types of exercise do you do? Do you exercise through intense pain?

Today I did 30 minutes of yoga and strength training on the Wii Fit and walked a mile and now I am suffering quite a bit. I need help! P.S. I was kicked out of PT months ago because I was in too much pain.


  • I really believe that there are good physical therapists and bad ones out there. I've been to at least 5 different ones and they all have different approaches. Are you seeing a physiatrist? You need to work with a physical therapist who can tell you which exercises to avoid so that you are not reinjuring the muscles. This can seriously cause setbacks. I think you are doing too much exercise in one day. I started to swim when a physical therapist had said it would help me. Well, she was wrong and it set me back months!

    I am in my 3rd round of PT with a different physical therapist. If one is not giving you the results, I would try a different one. In my opinion, working out on your own without guidance is not a good idea.
    2011 ACDF C5-6 for Spondylosis with Myleopathy
    2012 L4-5 herniated disc and hernated disc at C4/5 2013 Taking Amitriptyline for headaches

  • If you're 10 months out and can't walk a mile or do basic exercise you have a problem. Time to go back to your surgeon first, not PT.

    Yes you most certainly should be exercising. Regularly. You should have been in PT fairly soon after surgery doing basic stretching, nothing intense. So I'm confused how you got kicked out. What did they have you doing, exactly? What levels are you fused at and where do feel the most pain and doing which exercises?

    I did pool therapy within weeks then regular PT shortly after. It helped a lot with flexibility, core strength, ROM, and scar tissue not being able to attach itself to places it shouldn't.

    Instead of 1 mile try 2 - 1/2 mile sessions. Vary your speed when you walk, don't stroll. That is not exercise. Instead of 30 minutes of yoga. Remember what they showed you in PT? Try them again. If you can't do basic PT stretches. Then something is wrong. Will it hurt? Yes. Probably for months until you actually build some core strength and your body adapts to actually doing exercise. It isn't just core strength involved here. Contrary to popular belief. There is a lot more going on.

    I'm 2 years post-op lumbar fusion. I can do exercises that would surprise you. Including plenty of yoga, pilates, interval, resistance, and weight training. Does it hurt. Yes, even to this day. Hurt so bad I take drugs, no! Rub on icy/hot stuff or take an Advil some days. Yes.
  • You must be careful with the use of Advil as well, as it does have a negative effect on your kidneys as well as been implicated in increasing osteoporosis risks.

    I worked with a vascular surgeon who does endoscopic aortic aneurysm repairs and sees NSAIDS as a drug with a lifetime dose; you exceed that dose for your body, it has an effect on your kidneys. He said in some cases, he would rather use narcotics than NSAIDS for his patients.

    Just wanted to pass this good information along...

    Happy New Year!

  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084
    I have been on long term pain management including ms contin, percocet, soma and neurontin. All have helped me and I have been able to manage these well. I have more of a problem with continual use of NSAIDS, eventually each makes me feel like I have gut-rot so I take them sparingly though they are a key part of my pain management plan. I am doing PT for a knee replacement 3 months ago and it has aggravated spine pain. NSAIDS help but after working out the knee and even the spine my pain meds are key to allowing me to function. In an ideal world I wouldn't need them, but they have provided a great deal of relief and the long acting meds don't have acetominphen (Tylenol) so I don't worry too much about the effect of that.
    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 
  • swim that all i intend to do when i can ,you will get all the exercise that you need swimming
    1997 laminectomy
    2007 repeat laminectomy and discectomy L4/L5
    2011 ALIF {L4/L5/S1}
    2012 ? bowel problems .still under investigation
    2014 bladder operation may 19th 2014
  • Exercise is very important in recovery and the rest of your life too. I do core strengthening and I also did it before my fusions which I think helped my recovery. I walked a lot with my first 2 fusions but now have SI joint issues and walking a lot bothers that.

    I swim as much as I can. I have been a swimmer all my life and it is a really good overall exercise.Plus it is wonderful to feel weightless.

    I lift weights to keep my upper body strong. I ride my bike as my back will allow.

    I am a true believer that exercise helps both the body and the mind.

    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.
  • to proper recovery, according to my Neurosurgeon.

    I am now 7 months postop and do an hour of ski-walking or backstroke swimming a day. This is combined with simple core-strengthening bridging exercises and band-assisted hamstring stretches.

    If I slip for a day my pain is definitely worse.
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