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I am now almost 5 weeks post PLIF at L5-S1 level. I had problems with fluid build up at the post op appointment ten days after surgery, but have been fine since then. i saw the surgeon at 15 days post op, and he said that I should see him again 4 weeks later (that appt is on 8/23/12) . By that appointment, he says that I should be walking two miles a day, seven days a week. I've been building up to that, and two days ago actually got to 2.2 miles. Yay. I don't do anything dramatic, just stroll along until I get to Dunkin Donuts, go have coffee, then stroll home.

My question is this: Has anyone done anything more than walking at this early stage of recovery. i am very aware that recovery from spinal fusion is a long process, and I do not want to do anything to jeopardize my recovery. I am down to non-narcotic painkillers now (Tylenol instead of Vicodin), and will be starting to drive again on Monday (as soon as I get the car Inspected...hahaha). Should I wait to see the surgeon before I consider any other exercise? All I want to do is go swimming, and even then only gentle swimming cos I'm not very good at it.

I'll be starting back at work tomorrow...Sunday. Well, I suppose it could be classified as starting back, although I did actually go back just two weeks after surgery (I'm a Pastor, so my return to work was not as dramatic as it would have been if I was an office worker or laborer...I simply attended church 2 week's after surgery, and introduced a guest preacher. Tomorrow is the first day I will be leading worship since I had surgery on July 9).

Thoughts on swimming, anyone?


  • I would talk with your surgeon to see if they want you to work out yet. I had surgery on Aug 6th and the most I'm able to do is walk. I had a disktecomy/lamonecty on L4-L5 S1. I saw my surgeon today for a follow up and asked about increasing my exercise and they said no. Now is the crutical time where I'm more likely to re-injure myself. I am/was an active exerciser so being in the sedetary life is very hard for me. I'm still covered on my incision and won't be able to do even low impact (like swimming) for at least another 3 months.

    I have an office job and went back to work at 1 week. (I telecommute so I didn't have to leave my couch)
  • rogerajacobsenrrogerajacobsen Posts: 1
    edited 08/28/2012 - 9:50 AM
    I agree with megstoo. Talk to your surgeon. My own experience is that my surgeon is very agressive with exercise. I had surgery on Jan 19, 2012 and he basically said no limitations from the get go. The rehab hospital I had to go to put limitations on me and the surgeon did not like that. He said "you won't break anything I did". You have to know your own limits. After I went back to work, I cut back alot on the exercises I was doing. Big mistake. I got into a rut of coming home from work and taking pain meds and zoning out. Several months of recovery wasted. After my last appt with the surgeon he emphasized the need for 1) aerobic 2) strength, 3) flexibility. I now do 1 to 1 1/2 hours per night when I get home. Stationary bike, hand weights and bands and then yoga. Improvement has been dramatic. I still have trouble with my right leg, but I see improvement. I don't think I've hit the new normal yet, so I'll just keep working at it. I'm almost 62.

    Keep working at it.
    Roger A. Jacobsen
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