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Graduated from PT

BruceBBruce Posts: 516
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:19 AM in Exercise and Rehab
After a laminectomy and fusion 18 months ago, and hardware removal surgery 12 months ago, I have now finally graduated from 15 months of physical therapy (halted for a period for the hardware removal surgery).

I am a firm believer that such a comprehensive structured PT rehab program has played a MAJOR role in my near 100% recovery after my laminectomy and fusion. I travelled a lot and had to stop due to my second surgery so missed quite a few sessions, which delayed the whole thing, but in total, I have done about 40 PT sessions over the period (one 2-3 hour session per week), involving comprehensive use of MEDX medical rehabilitation equipment.

The PT did not just focused on my lumbar region but also the thoracic region, and legs (hamstrings, calves, psoas muscles, etc) as they are all connected and impact upon the lumbar back. If anyone is familiar with the MEDX range of medical rehab equipment, the equipment which I used regularly was:

- Lumbar extension machine (stretching and strengthening of the lumbar region).
- Torso rotation machine
- Abdominal isolator
- Seated row (as in rowing)
- Super stretch (hamstring and hip abductors)
- Leg press

As well as using these machines was lots of stretching exercises, and physical therapy (massage, heat packs,electric current, ultrasonic treatment, etc., especially in the early days.

Keep positive!


...an old timer here and ex-moderator



  • Hi Bruce,
    are you ready for higher mountains now?As a firm believer in PT,you that getting lazy and not doing it at home is a bad idea...I finish mine in 2 wks.A lot of help so far.
    I heard the Kiwi boys lost a game or,am I wrong? ;)

  • so my therapist's office gives patients a free massage coupon after you make it to all your appointments. I keep joking with them that this is unfair to us for whom that last appointment is always just over the horizon. .. but you give me hope.
  • Hey, I never got a free massage coupon at the end of mine, I just got a handshake! There is nothing like a good massage though - my family and I spent a week in Phuket, Thailand recently and my wife and I had a Thai massage every day (very good too!).
    Keep positive!


    ...an old timer here and ex-moderator

  • Well, this was on top of doing stretching exercises at home too. For the first 6 months I was doing a routine of stretching exercises on a daily basis but I found that this was actually all too much, so I slackened off to doing the home exercises every second day.

    My physical therapist has reminded me that I need to continue with the exercises at home basically forever...ah, no rest for the wicked.

    Yep, we beat the South Africans and then the beat us a week later. Australia beat the South Africans last weekend and now we play Australia this weekend - all part of the Tri-nations tournament which we will win again (hehehe...well, here's hoping)
    Keep positive!


    ...an old timer here and ex-moderator

  • congratulations bruce, it sounds like you're doing really well.

    i second the medx machines and am fortunate to have access to both the lumbar machines plus all of the others. although i am not quite at the state of using this equipment, i am looking forward to being able to in the near future and no doubt these will aid in my recovery and ongoing health.

    how long post op before you were able to use the lumbar machine (is it the medical lumbar or core lumbar? [medical is hooked up to computer])?

    have you got access to the equipment for an ongoing strengthening programme? if not, can you get into your 'old' PT once a month to use the lumbar (this is medx recommendation for maintenance of lumbar strength)?

    once again congrats and lets hope we beat the aussies on saturday
  • Thanks rachel. yes, its the medical lumbar. it was fun watching the graph on the screen as you go through the 20 reps and seeing how smooth i could make it. nearing my 40th visit i could hit the target total time of 160 seconds for 20 reps within 1 - 2 seconds every time! The weight setting on my final visit was up to 87 lbs - nothing startling but significantly better than when I first started. I couldn't reach the full 72 degress of movement though - only making it to 66 on a good day. This was not due to my back but due to my ham strings. I have extremely tight hams - even after a year of doing hamstring stretches on the machine and at home.

    I hadn't thought about going back in on a periodic basis and my physiotherapist didn't mention it but I know I could - she told me that I am welcome back any time i have a problem, so I can simply make an appointment. I'll look into it.

    take care, and yep, i will be stuck in front of the box watching the game on saturday (c'mon, of course we will win!.....wont we...?)
    Keep positive!


    ...an old timer here and ex-moderator

  • its certainly a good idea to maintain what you have achieved by going once a month as no other exercise can substitute what the medx can achieve (this is all that is required as the lumbar erector spinae and multifidus are unique in that they do not need a lot of stimulus, as shown by copious amounts of research, however they do require isolation to be stimulated through out the entire ROM). [note medx protocol states once a month for maintenance]

    post accident i started out at 48 degrees and progressed to about 55 degrees preop (before i hurt my back i had no problems with the entire range...). im hoping to get more range postop but understand that with out the help of L5/S1 it may be abit restricted

    Go the AB's!
  • Sorry rachel I forgot to answer one of your earlier questions.... I first started PT and using the lumbar MEDX at 4 months post fusion surgery. First time I could only move 36 degrees. I did PT for 2.5 months until 6.5 months post op when i was still having specific pain which was diagnosed as hardware related. Hardware was removed 2 weeks later at 7 months, and I then resumed PT a month after that surgery.
    Keep positive!


    ...an old timer here and ex-moderator

  • Bruce...that is great news. I am a firm believer in PT and do my home exercises regularly. I even had the PT print out my whole routine for last week when I went away. I did as much as I could with the hotel gym equiptment (they has a pretty good gym for a hotel) and spent some time walking in the pool each day. I have always said I enjoy taking an active part in my recovery.

    Keep up your routine!
  • thanks bruce, its great that you doubled your range,

    keep up the awesome progress
  • 'Taking an active part in my recovery'.....that is so important for all of us.

    Keep it up too :)
    Keep positive!


    ...an old timer here and ex-moderator

  • The trick is to not become complacent I guess (I am the world's worst procrastinator) but having been through what we have all been through there is a very strong incentive to do my best to not let my spine deteriorate again. My case was not caused by an accident, rather it was congenital, helped along I am sure by lifestyle (bad posture, lack of exercise, etc.) so there is a risk that I could slip back into some old habits, but I am determined not to!

    Keep positive!


    ...an old timer here and ex-moderator

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