Walking after lumbar fusion

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second self
Last seen: 4 years 8 months ago
Title: Member
Joined: 07/11/2010 - 12:53am
Walking after lumbar fusion

Did anyone receive specific instructions from the surgeon on whether the pace of walking made any difference? Were you told to gradually try to increase the speed at which you walk?

And how about the LENGTH of your stride? I find the longer the stride, the more pain I experience. If I keep my stride a slightly less than what used to be normal (for me), I can avoid that pain....

Just wondering what others have been told by their surgeons....

Cath111's picture
Last seen: 4 days 13 hours ago
Title: Member
Joined: 09/02/2008 - 10:06am
Interesting question

Hi SS.

I really don't know. My surgeon told me specifically to only walk on solid, flat surfaces like sidewalks, and no hills, up or down. I would imagine that whatever stride is the most comfortable is what you should be doing. The old adage, "If it hurts, don't do it" comes to mind.


Last seen: 9 months 3 weeks ago
Title: Member
Joined: 10/16/2009 - 5:38am
No advice given

but I did find that at first, I had to shorten my stride and pace.
Now, at nearly 4 months, I can walk quite briskly and with a normal length of stride.

Hope that helps Smile

mel v.
mel v.'s picture
Last seen: 3 years 11 months ago
Title: Member
Joined: 03/21/2010 - 11:34am
stride question

Hi SS, I only received the direction to walk, walk, walk. In my non-medical opinion, if a shorter stride avoids less pain, go with that mode, but keep moving, then give your doc a call and ask him/her straight up. Probably one of their PA's could answer the question via email. I'm 8 weeks out, and walk at a pretty fast clip 3 miles 3 days a week, and less 2 days a week. Good luck. mel v.
Grin Thinking

Last seen: 10 months 2 weeks ago
Title: Member
Joined: 11/29/2009 - 8:26pm
well now we may have a problem

Hubby has been walking on country roads and there are several hills on them. They are firm and level underfoot but he does go up and down hills. He is having no pain at all when he walks and he treks along at a good clip. Now I am worrying that he is doing damage rather than doing good. No one told him to walk only on the sidewalk and that would be a problem as we live in the country.

haglandc (not verified)
Title: Member
It really depends on the surgeon

My neurosurgeon advises to do what seems tolerable without creating pain that doesn't resolve with over night rest. It's one of those areas where the surgeon will tailor the instructions to the individual based on a myriad of variables. Age, general health, procedure that was done, other risk factors (diabetes, weight, other injuries, etc) all play a part in what a surgeon uses to make a post op recommendation.

Beaver, please don't worry so much about your hubby. If he starts to hurt or something doesn't "feel right" I guarantee he will back off faster than you can snap your fingers.


Last seen: 9 months 3 weeks ago
Title: Member
Joined: 10/16/2009 - 5:38am
Hill walking!!

I was told to stay on the flat with my walking when I left the hospital. I explained that would be hard as there are slight slopes around where I live. Then I was told that if I walked on an incline, to reduce how far I walked. I soon got used to the small inclines, but bigger hills are more of a challenge.

I would think, that if he isn't having pain, he is probably fine. :-)
Our bodies are great at telling us, if we do something they don't like! Crying

Last seen: 2 years 10 months ago
Title: Member
Joined: 01/26/2010 - 8:26am

My doctor told me to walk on flat ground and on a zero incline if using a treadmill. There was no discussion of speed or length of stride (didn't think to ask).

However, the doctor did say to make sure that there was no heavy pounding. I live in Phoenix and it is 110 degrees outside, so my only option other than walking the malls is a treadmill. Taking the no pounding guideline, I adjust the speed to a comfortable point where I don't really feel any bouncing up and down of the torso. Does this make sense? It's a bit of a challenge, but when I went Friday, I did 3 miles in 60 minutes. A good clip. Didn't get the heart rate up too high, and my hips and back didn't seem to hurt any more than any other time when I was finished.

dilauro's picture
Last seen: 12 min 14 sec ago
Title: Moderator
Joined: 06/16/2008 - 9:41pm
It is always best to check with your doctor

Many folks here provide their own personal insight into different situations. But it is so important to understand that no one here is a formal doctor, so therefor can not provide medical advice.

So members here have from time to time posted as if they were handing out medical advice and facts. That has and is still a very dangerous thing to do. When we find members who do this, we send them a warning and if that practice continues they might be banned from this site.

We have had examples on this site, where a member took the advice of another member, looked at it as the medical fact and wound up hurting themselves more.

That is why we are very strict when it comes to members playing doctors.

I see from your sign up date, you are a new member.I
I believe it is my responsibility to inform you about this, so that in the future, you will read other member's posts as just being other member's opinions.

Good working environment that everyone needs to implement easily.

Establish this with your doctors

Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Moderator
Dont laugh at me

dbarbeau48's picture
Last seen: 6 days 23 hours ago
Title: Member
Joined: 06/26/2008 - 8:59am

My surgeons never told me about walking, they strongly believe in physical therapy and they were the ones advising me about any physical activity.


Emergency surgery in March of 2006 for spinal infection of L 2 and L 3. During surgery, discovered I had Cauda Equina Syndrome. Spine became unstable after surgery and had 360 fusion with 10 pedicle screws, plates and rods in April of 2007.

trishdownunder's picture
Last seen: 1 month 1 week ago
Title: Member
Joined: 06/29/2008 - 3:46am

My surgeon didn't give me any specific instructions about walking, and I just did what I could and adjusted my pace and distance as to how I felt on the day, and it worked. It took quite a while to be able increase the pace. I was just happy to be able to walk without pain.

I was grateful to other forum members' posting their experiences, and the main thrust was to check with my doctor, listen to my body and not to overdo things.


ALIF L4/5 2009
Laminectomy/discectomy L4/5 2008