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returning to gym after microdisectomy???

johnnnie2000jjohnnnie2000 Posts: 6
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:59 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi all i am just over 2 months since i had a microdisectomy l5 with herniation and ligaments being crushed also,I have just been discharged from physio,and was told it could take months for the patchy pain in right leg to fully go away. I want advice on when i can reurn to weightlifting, i have been told to do cardio for 30 minutes and increase it by maybe 5-10 minutes per week for a month ie gradually get back into it, I want to lift weights again with the knowledge of no risk of going through that unbearable pain again


  • After a micro you really have to protect yourself more so than ever. Especially in the early days/weeks/months. So listen to your PT. Slowly increase cardio until you can last a 60 minute session. Nothing crazy, but one with some changes in it. Take it easy on any heavy twisting or jumping moves. The high impact stuff would be a bad idea. Same with a lot of jump twist moves like jumping and twisting 180 degrees then land. You'll torque the disc up too much.
    johnnnie2000 said:
    I want to lift weights again with the knowledge of no risk of going through that unbearable pain again
    I hate to break this to you but no one is going to give you that guarantee. If you herniated then you are a candidate to do it again if you push too far. When it comes to weight lifting especially. I doubt you'll like this but squats and dead lifts, while great for pure strength building, are the worst risk. Anything directly over head like military presses etc. Use a leg press. Sit on an incline bench set to say 45 degrees to partially unload your spine. Try a Smith machine where you can at least just let go and walk away if it gets too much. Try dumb bells if you can live with that. At least with those even overhead they tend not to directly load your spine down. I have no problems with dumb bells at 25lbs each for most things. Once you get over 50lbs total hoisted over your head. You'll be setting yourself up for failure.

    After 6-12 months you could ask the surgeon to do a follow up MRI to see if the disc actually healed or not. Pain is good indication but just because you don't have a lot of pain doesn't mean the disc completely healed. If you had any kind of tears be very careful.

    I'm over 2 years out from fusion and it still hurts yanking stuff over my head so I just don't do it. So I do something different. I do lots of pull/chin ups and several variations on push ups. Lots of dumb bell work. Then mix in some basic core strengthening exercises. Be absolutely committed to building a strong core first to hold you stable.
  • Here's one way to look at it:

    Scar tissue attempts to seal over the torn covering of the disc. (called the annulus)
    Scar tissue is not as strong as the original disc material. If the original material blew out, then the scar tissue has an even greater probability of blowing out.

    I would avoid squats, deadlifts, good mornings, bent over rows, significant weight that passes weight/compression from your upper body, thru the lumbar spine, to your lower body.*

    *Unless you are mentally and financially ready to deal with any medical repercussions such as more surgeries.

    On the sunny and mild Central Coast of California

    L4-L5 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy June, 2007
    L5-S1 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy May, 2008
  • I say......WAIT! Make sure you are completely cleared by your surgeon before you start doing any type of weight lifting. I had my surgery in July and just decided to start doing kickboxing, modified of course, in order to get back into shape. Well, 3 days into it, I felt this shock-like pain in the area where I had my surgery. I have been resting since then, and it keeps getting worse. I wish I would have waited or consulted with my physician prior to starting any type of exercise routine. I don't know for sure whether I reherniated, as my surgeon wants to wait another 3 or 4 weeks before re-imaging.

    You have the rest of your life to get back into shape, so take it slowly!
  • thanks for all the responses,iam now 12 weeks out of surgery have done 2 trips to a personal trainer for cardio and back strngthening exercises. Like legs under and lift my chest on reps and cycling and cross training,i generally do bells not huge weights,but i usually do about 200 press ups a day i have started at 20 a day for now,i think badminton should perhaps wait,i was told wait 9-12 weeks and gradually do this,do you think this sounds ok???? the bells about 11 kilos
  • Definitely get your surgeon to ok it. Be specific about what you want to do. Don't just ask "Can I weight lift?". Tell him you're thinking dumb bells at 11 kilos and the types of moves. Just so he understands.

    12 weeks out I wouldn't play with weights. Sadly I only got 8 weeks out of microdiscectomy before being hit by a tractor trailer. Trashed that surgery and ended up with a fusion. Recovering from fusion I didn't touch weights for over a year.

    One good option instead of weights is bands. I used them in the beginning because they really don't trap you. Most routines done with the bar bells can be done with bands.

    Like Kim said just up and doing something might not be good. Say like, kick boxing... ;-) Any plyometric activity tends to be really hard on the spine due to the twisting and/or jumping.

    I wouldn't be surprised if your doc tells you wait at least 6 months on the weights and let him re-evaluate.

    Remember just because the nerve pain has toned down or gone doesn't mean you're healed. It means you are well on your way. You could have a fraction of space between the disc and those nerves. 1 wrong move with weight, or big twist, or bend and you may be at square one. That would suck.
  • thanks again for the advice,i do suffer say few times a week at least from nerve pain,i was toldf that could take a long time to dissapear, basically becausei had the herniation for about 5 monthsbefore surgery. Wound pain is occasional but yes the nerve pain is still pretty sore,i know they moved a lot of stuff to create a good amount of space as any forward movement caused excruiating pain ie getting out of bed out a car, that was the reason they originally thought the disk was just bulging until i could no longer walk and i didnt even need examined again they just booked me right in for surgery,i sure do not want to go through that again
  • I was told to wait for a year...well 10 months before I resumed 'normal' activity. And by normal, I had to cut back on running and other big impact stuff.

    Granted I have a revision but knowing what I know, I would proceed with extreme caution on weight lifting. Your body, while 12 weeks out, is still healing.

  • I think you should get advice from any personal trainer. The personal trainers are the professionals who will surely help you in your workouts.

    health clubs nj
  • MrIMMrI United KingdomPosts: 47
    Great thread, great responses. Very useful for me. If you understand weightlifting and bodybuilding you will know how to lift without straining your back with Sheering force
  • AlphabetAAlphabet AustraliaPosts: 48
    I have been given squats to do as strengthening exercise from my physio since week 10 using a 2kg weight... From what I read this is a bad idea??
  • catapamcatapam AustriaPosts: 27
    Weight lifting is a bad idea after this type of surgery. You need to stay with low impact aerobic exercise and search into gym only gym machines designed for back protection.
  • Gym and exercises are based on individual recovery. It's something that you can discuss with your PT and also it depends on how it makes you feel. Every each of us after surgery is recovering at different pace. After my microdisectomy surgery 4 years ago I was able to go back to weightlifting, especially using free weights. I started light, with machines after 6 months. Before I focused a lot on cardio, to get ready to start lifting.
    You need to decide with your doctor, PT what will work for you.
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