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Is No Physical Therapy needed after back surgery?

Hi. Has anyone else been told by the surgeon that no PT is needed post-surgery (lumbar laminectomy/discectomy L5S1 for extruded disc strangling nerve in early Oct. 2012)? That there are no restrictions and no neurological deficits? I still have sciatic pain lower in my thigh, occasional buttock sciatic pain, occasional numbness in the toes, and the new post-surgery bone pain in the sacral/pelvic region. Although my pain is much better, I still have it, particularly after sitting too long or after coming back from a mile walk. I am tapering off drugs but still need help with pain. I finally persuaded my Neuro to write me a script for PT but it was like pulling teeth. I need to know how to get better doing safe stretches and not hurt myself. I also need help to be able to drive my car again safely for my commute to work. Am I wrong?


  • airborne72airborne72 Posts: 245
    edited 11/30/2012 - 1:33 PM
    My surgeon was not too concerned about "me" participating in physical therapy. He ordered it 4 months after my two level fusion (L4-S1) only after I questioned him about it.

    In my opinion, doctors will order it based upon the patient, the surgery, and the surgical outcome. It's not an absolute. If you entered the surgery as an active person with an apparent good state of health and an awareness of physical exercise, then you may not really need PT. If your surgery was one that really did not impact your tissue (hard and soft) too much, then you may not really need PT. And lastly, if the outcome of your surgery was so beneficial, then you may not need PT.

    I asked for it so I would know what not to do. I already knew what to do to maintain good strength and flexibility, as well as exerting the self-discipline to do it on a regular and appropriate basis. The therapist answered my questions after a few sessions, so I no longer needed to attend. Consequently, I contained the overall cost of the surgery and even reduced some of the stress associated with scheduling and attending PT sessions. Those appointments were poking big holes in my work schedule.

  • Thanks for sharing your comments. I was a fairly active person but I want to be more active and want to lose some weight. I am also hoping that a few PT sessions with a knowledgeable person will help me. I am just afraid of re-herniating (mine was very large) or causing more damage. I ended up having a bad reaction to the surgery 24 hours afterward so I want to be careful. I am also going in with a list of questions for the PT. I have been walking every day since the surgery but now that I'm over a mile it hurts. I'm 8 weeks out.
  • If you are only 8 weeks out and walking a mile you doing prety good i would say, You cant rush healing but walking is good and probably 1 of the best things to keep doing that dont cause other damage, Now pt on another hand if the pt person has you do the wrong thing because he or she is not the 1 with the injury then anything can hapen,

    And it has often hapened when pt people are not good at what they do, So yes its important to work with someone who actualy knows what they are doing after our surgery because if they push you in the wrong direction its you thats going to pay for it not them,

    I worked with a few young pt people who act like they know it all as they just got out of pt school and think they learned everything when the truth is they barely worked with anyone with a serious injury that had a major surgery while they act like it should be no big deal to do what a normal person without an injury can barely do,

    I had my run in with a few and i was forced to rain on there litle parade while calling there boss over and telling there boss, Look i have underwear older then this young kid you have working for ya, I am now 52 years old and listening to this childish litle punk you have working for you who still lives with his mother doing his loundry while she put up the money for him to become a pt personal,

    They get freaked out when someone puts them in there place and they realise i am not work comp and nothing they can do to hurt my case by writing me up as thats what normaly takes place with w/c patients puting w/c people life in the hands sometimes of a young pt personal without any experience,

    I know many who gone through hell with w/c and what they deal with while going to pt and i speak for those when i raise hell when i see wrong doing in pt facility, I have put myself in there place me knowing they cant speak up as a simple write up can cut off there benefits and these pt facilities know it and often it goes to there head having the power and control over a persons life and often they abuse that power ! As if the person aint dealing with enough already with there injury and then having to deal with control freaks of a pt facility,

    I know this is off the main topic and question that you asked but make what you will out of it, Just be careful what you do and you the only 1 who knows what your body can handle and nobody else,
    This is in no way to make excuse of not pushing toward recovery for anyone and in no way saying pt is bad and that all pt facility's are bad as what i describe, But to be aware that they are out there and 1 has to be aware of it to avoid further injury to 1 self ,

    You almost have to be just as careful what pt place you using as what dr you trust doing your surgery,
    You could pick the right dr while picking the wrong pt person who can reverse what the dr did and can end up right back in surgery,

    Good luck, And dont let this scare ya lol, Rome was not built in 8 weeks, Each day every hour will take you where you need to be simply using common sense during recovery !
    Flexicore ADR 2004 resulting nerve damage l4l5 Fusion 2006 same level, 2009 hardware removal with lami !
    2012 scs implant ,
  • humanshishkabobhhumanshishkabob Posts: 65
    edited 12/01/2012 - 9:21 AM
    Thanks for the comment. Yes, the first PT I did back in May before the MRI was all wrong/painful/unhelpful and it further damaged my disc. The PT was an idiot and so was I for listening to him. I am going back to a more experienced PT I met in August/Sept. who could see that PT was not helping and that I needed surgery ASAP. I speak up now and if something hurts or doesn't work, I stop. I just want some help with safe stretching/movement so I don't screw this up. I'm over 40 so I do question people. I picked the right surgeon with a bad tag-team but my GP has been helpful, thank goodness.
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