Hello everyone, I have been cruising the forums for a while now, but wanted to make my first post - haven’t been able to find many anecdotes or information about post-recovery activity levels for younger folks getting fusions. Looking to hear people’s thoughts on it or personal experiences.
If you don’t want to read the full schpiel, my question is this: What level of activity can a younger person (25 years old) reasonably expect to return to after a recovery from a spinal fusion of the lower back (L5-S1)?
Here are some details about my case - I am providing lots because I always appreciate seeing details when I am browsing the forums so that I can compare the case I am reading about to my own.
I am a 25 year old male in good shape (6’2”, 190 pounds
), and my L5 vertebrae has three stress fractures from gymnastics (pons separated). The first surgery I had when I was 20, and it was an external reduction internal fixation of L5, but I had bone grafts which didn’t take. The surgery is normally done on people younger than I was, but the grafts had a 50-50 chance and I fell on the wrong side of the odds. Some of the the screws they put in have since broken. It is five years later and I have pretty severe sciatica in my right leg and a completely herniated disc between L5 and S1.
Specifically, the surgery I will be having in a few weeks includes:
- Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion L5-S1
- Posterior Laminectomy
- Facetectomy L5-S1 Right
- Posterolateral Fusion L5-S1 with Instrumentation
- Removal of Posterior Hardware L5-S1
I have read many threads on activity levels that people return to after fusions in the lower back in this forum, but they are typically for people who are 30-40 years my senior, and typically they have been moderate at best (walking 9 holes of golf, for example).
Granted, I couldn’t walk 9 holes of golf currently so it would be an upgrade, and I know I’ll never get back to gymnastics, but I am hopeful that I can maintain a healthy physique and be able to engage in slightly more intense activity than golfing.
A few questions about post-recovery activity levels:
- Does the expected activity level of a younger person after a fusion differ from that of someone who is older?
- What sorts of muscle building activities (for physique) are possible after a fusion? Is weight lifting an option if using isolated exercises as opposed to compound workouts that put strain on the lower back?
- Does anyone have experience with younger people getting fusions or have gotten one themselves at a young age? If so what did the activity levels after completing recovery look like?
Long first post I know, but thanks for your help everyone!