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Walking during recovery

Had a 1 level ACDF at c5/6 on the 10th of Dec, doing ok, recovery is going a bit slower than I hoped. About 2 weeks ago I started walking to try and speed up the process, but it only seems to be setting me back. I'm having a lot more flare ups and when I get back from the walk I hurt so bad. I'm walking anywhere from 1.5-2.5 miles each time, just depending on weather and how I'm feeling that day. My husband thinks I'm just over doing and shouldn't be walking that far. Any advice? I have my 6 week post op appt with the surgeon on Thursday, will know if I'll be released to go to work then. I really need to go back to work, this being broke thing kinda sucks. Any advice?


  • If 1.5 hurts then start less! Gosh I only started with a half a mile after my microdiscectomy. You probably just need to take it down a notch.
  • odile53oodile53 Posts: 65
    edited 01/13/2013 - 6:34 PM
    After my L 4-5 subtotal laminectomy, microdiscectomy, and fusion my surgeon gave me a postoperative instruction sheet that said "light walking is encouraged and stairs are permitted." He did not specify a specific distance. Very slippery weather for about half of my postop period (I'm approximately 4 weeks now) restricted walking to indoors. What I did was to make sure I got up about every half hour while I was awake and paced the house inside about five times at first, each time I got up. Then I started bumping up how many times I paced. The length of my house is about seventy feet, so I was initially probably walking 300 feet at a time ten to fifteen times a day. I haven't bothered to multiply out the distance, but subtracting ten feet from that seventy feet (for turning around) gives about sixty feet, that's how I came up with the 300 feet distance. We had a week's worth of thawing, so I bumped it up to about a half a mile twice a day when the weather permitted. I could definitely feel the difference between frequent shorter distances and a couple of longer distances. The psoas nerve irritation I've been consistently since surgery (with some improvement with the short frequent walking) called me everything but a child of Jesus when I did the considerably longer distance. Plus, I am doing home physical therapy exercises three times a day. The physical therapist said that frequency was more important than distance at this point.

    I don't know what you mean specifically by "flare ups:" Are these new symptoms, or just more pain than you usually have. Try to identify that specifically before calling your surgeon.

    You might want to give your doctor a call and get more specific instructions if he hasn't given you any. Sometimes health providers assume more knowledge than we patients have, or assume we know what they are talking about. Also, my PT spent a session with me where we basically just talked, and she said that I'm reaching a point in my recovery where most patients feel considerably better and are likely to overdo.

    I'm not a spinal diagnosis. I'm a human being with a spinal diagnosis.
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