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am overweight and need l4/l5 fusion

mamariammamaria Posts: 1
edited 11/06/2014 - 4:37 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi all...I am a 53 year old female needing a lumbar fusion. My concern is my weight. I am about 80 pounds overweight and unable to do any active exercise at this time due to my level of pain. I know this is going to make my recovery challenging and want to hear from others who may have been in this situation. Thanks


  • Mamaria-

    I'm 50 myself and could stand to lose 100 pounds myself. I had my first laminectomy done when I was 37. At first, the doctors send me to a physical therapist to see if that would work. It was almost impossible to do any kind of PT work, as my right foot suffered from foot drop because of the L3/4 herniation.

    Reading your background, the one thing that came to mind was water therapy. I worked for a good 4 months in the water with my PT. It was a special pool heated to about 85 degrees. I did a lot of resistance training during that time. Even though I ended up having surgery, I recovered from a 1 level laminectomy in 4 weeks. The work I did really strengthened my lumbar muscles, and I feel that the recovery was easier that it would have been without the therapy.

    I'm sorry you have to have a lumbar fusion, but you might want to get a second opinion to be sure. Make sure you read the lists on things you need to have before and after the surgery. If this is your first back surgery, make sure you have someone that can stay with you in case of emergency.

    Good luck. I hope things go well.

  • is often the solution. I know it's silly, but most of the time exercise is not the way that you are going to lose a lot of weight. If you change your eating habits to reduce your caloric intake, you will lose some pounds. Diet and exercise combined are the best, but I've found that for me when I adjust my diet I lose weight. I'm sure you are already eating healthy, but if you look at your diet and make moderate adjustments, you can probably lose at least 10 pounds. I find every pound I lose, I feel much better, and have more energy etc.

    That said, since I've injured my back 3 weeks ago...I have found more of a challenge because 90% of my day is spent flat on my back...and people have been bringing me treats to cheer me up. So...maintaining a diet high in fruit and veg has been more of a challenge, cause I sure do have more free time to snack away....

    I wish you all the best.
  • I was in a similar situation. I am 39 and needed a L4/5 fusion. I am 100 pounds overweight and I could not do much because of pain. I did dgo through PT before making a surgery decision. And for me, I could do everything requestednof me and felt great when I left. A few hours later I couldn't move.

    I made the decision to have surgery and on Sept 25 I went under the knife. I came out of surgery and tools my husband that I was in pain but it was not the pain I went into surgery with. For me, it seems to have worked.

    I am still recovering and I know that it is a long road. I occassionaly have muscle pain, but the pain I was in before surgery has not come back. If you want to chat feel free to message me.
  • Losing weight is 80% diet. I decided to lose 20 more pounds after my back injury and it helps with everything. If you count your calories, you can lose the weight, and your back pain will likely ease. My doctors are very worried about me gaining weight since I can't work out since surgery so I've just counted my calories and stayed at maintenance and I haven't put on a pound. Sucks that you can't exercise but exercise isn't the golden ticket to weight loss -- diet is.
  • I am 38. I just had most of my L5 removed. My doctor said that I had slippage and needed a fusion done at the L4-L5 and that my L2--L3 were showing signs of dehydration. He said he almost went ahead and did the infusion but changed his mind. He said I needed to lose 100 lbs first. He said I needed to be below 200lbs. I.don't need to lose 100lbs to be below 200. Have any of you had weight issues or Dr. not wanting to perform surgery unless you weighed below 200?
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