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Lifting weights after two level fusion

So Ive been through the gambit of surgeries and treatments through the years. This past Sept. I had a two level L4-S1 AlLIF and since have faired well. Im getting past the 6 month mark and the bone is fusing well.

I know it is not a very common thing to inquire about others if they've lifted weights again after a fusion but this is/was pretty much a major part of my life. Most are just happy being able to function and honestly I'm still coping.

So if there are any out there that have had success going back to the gym and lifting SAFELY, id like to know your story. Even from what anybody's PT has said about this topic. Thanks to all for reading!!!!!!!!!

Weight room accident at 18. Had compression fracture and was paralyzed for month until ruptured spinal column healed. At 37 did all the epidurals/blocks. At 38 had two level open lami and Discectomy. At 39 (Sept 2012) had two level ALIF L4-S1 fusion.


  • Talk to your doctor or PT. I have had 3 fusions and have been able to go back to lifting weights. I use free weights so probably not as much weight as other stuff in the gym. Get your doctor's ok and start small. Recovery is a long process but if you are patient and persistent, and don't overdo you will be surprised at how many things you will be able to do. Talk to the trainer at your gym about lifting safely.

    I swim, lift weights and ride my bike. Running isn't an option anymore but I am thankful for the things I CAN do. It does take a long time and you may not be able to lift as much as you used to be but at least you will be lifting something. Most doctors will give you a weight lifting restriction.

    Good luck.


    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.
  • alexhurtingaalexhurting Posts: 1,991
    edited 01/31/2013 - 5:44 PM
    Only thing i will lift is a 12 pack siting down, Each time you drink one it gets so much easier and more fun,

    Bench weight lifting should be fine , Not sure i would try regular weight by bending and lifting after fusion,
    I use mostly uper body machines at the gym and for the legs other machines where back is flat againt the bench seats,

    The core machines simply cause back to go nuts so i have to dance around it, very light weights if i do it,
    I am such a sissy boy ,
    Actualy i just go to watch the chicks and pretend to be working out,

    Does this make me a dirty old man ? God i hope not, Git-er-done
    Flexicore ADR 2004 resulting nerve damage l4l5 Fusion 2006 same level, 2009 hardware removal with lami !
    2012 scs implant ,
  • RangerRRanger on da rangePosts: 805
    hey Rob,
    jani is right, first consult the experts, you don't want to mess up your Dr's work. After I had my spine surgeries I would have
    thought my weight lifting days were history. Now I'm back in the gym working harder than ever. Sure we have to modify our
    workout routines but there is a lot of great info out there to make sure you don't injure yourself. Core strength is very important to build muscle around the vertebrae. Also one can lift less pounds but increase reps to achieve the same or better results of
    heavy lifting with less reps as you probably already know.
    Good luck to you,
  • Pre surgery I was in the gym with my personal trainer doing serious weights (I'm a girl so when I say serious I mean girl serious!) my surgeon said I will not get back to weights those heavy as I am risking breaking the metal work?
    I was pretty down about this but I'm glad there is hope! I'm only 7 weeks post op but managing 8 miles a day power walking but no weights at all. My intention is to return to the gym in march.
    2 level Discectomy 2000 open surgery
    L4/5 Discectomy & L5/S1 Laminectomy 2005- (Cauda equina) open surgery
    5 x joint injections 2012
    Discogram Dec 2012
    Dec 2012 - 360 Lumbar Fusion L4 -S1(BMP), Disc replaced L3/4, Bilat trocanter injects
  • RangerRRanger on da rangePosts: 805
    edited 02/02/2013 - 5:42 AM
    hey Keewee,
    I've seen some real "girl serious" weight lifters that would kick my butt in the gym. And depending how heavy you are lifting or squatting don't rule out anything at this point. You may be very surprised at your outcome of all this. Breaking metal work with the titanium you have installed would really surprise Dr's and the likes. Although breaking something in the area near the attaching points isn't unheard of.
    Just be careful, patient, and follow Dr's orders. I'm having a lot of fun back in the gym meeting and exceeding in some areas attainable goals. And don't forget the cardio!
    Go get em Keewee, hoping for the best in your recovery.
  • Rob MRRob M Posts: 36
    edited 08/29/2014 - 9:58 AM
    Great stuff, a lot I Laughed my EDITED ]/b] off!!! Yes Im going back in to discuss it further with PT and Surgeon. My plan would be to get back on machines slowly. Im horrified of taking advantage of healing then edited up what was done! So slow will be the mode. Thanks all for the responses and its helped knowing folks have had a life after a fusion.

    Post edited for inappropriate forum language. http://www.spine-health.com/forum/forum-rules

    Post edited by Sandi- the use of foul, obscene or vulgar language is NOT permitted on Spine Health.

    Weight room accident at 18. Had compression fracture and was paralyzed for month until ruptured spinal column healed. At 37 did all the epidurals/blocks. At 38 had two level open lami and Discectomy. At 39 (Sept 2012) had two level ALIF L4-S1 fusion.
  • I have had 8 back surgeries, the last one about 18 months ago that resulted in being fused from 10 levels down. I have trouble walking very far and standing for more than around 30 minutes. I have been training with light weights mainly toning my arms and also doing pool therapy. A friend showed me an article in a magazine saying the use of HGH (Dr. Supervised) can drastically add strength and help bone heal from surgeries. Anyone have any knowledge of this?
  • RangerRRanger on da rangePosts: 805
    Can you explain or is it something that cannot be posted here. Just interested to hear what it is.
  • is human growth hormone........steroids.
  • RangerRRanger on da rangePosts: 805
    Thanks sandi I feel like "duh" I should have known that. I just refer to them as roids.
  • BrandyCBBrandyC Posts: 1
    edited 09/25/2015 - 10:16 AM
    My doctor recommended I have a spinal fusion and my first question was would I be able to work out and lift weights again. He told me I wouldn't be able to but after reading these blogs I believe he is wrong. I know upper body won't be a problem but what about lower such as squats and lunges. Does anyone have any experience in those areas after a spinal fusion?

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  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,862
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • My Doctor told me I would never be able to lift more than 50lbs again, He felts it was important because I train service dogs and well you never know if one will be stubborn or get injured, I had one get hurt so badly last year I had to carry her around for weeks and she isn't small.  My fusion and surgery went well after leaving the hospital I got sick but I'm starting to get better now two months later. Even with 50 lbs enough reps and high cardio for a minute between sets it will kick your butt and get you ripped.

  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    This is a very old discussion, the original poster has not been on the forum for 2 years, so I am closing it

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
This discussion has been closed.
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