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Hello I am 10 weeks post-op from a fusion and decompression on my L3/4. I am just wondering at this point what activities I should and shouldn't be doing. I am trying to wear my brace only when I go outside as it can be slippery, we live in Wisconsin. Is it okay to be stooping down like a squat yet to get into my cupboards? How about reaching into the top cupboards. Vacuuming lightly with a very light vacuum? Mopping the floor? These types of activities. I still have I believe it to be muscle pain pretty much most of the time. I do walk and I go on the treadmill, I'm at 1 and 1/4 miles and working up. My next appointment is at 12 weeks and I will be getting X-rays at that time. I would just like to hear from others to see if I'm on the right track. Thank you for your help! I really have found this forum useful and have referred to it many times.



  • WLLadyWLLady Ontario CanadaPosts: 1,486

    hiya! this is really something only your surgeon/doctor and you can decide.  Everyone is different.  Fusions take a long time to heal, and you have basically one chance to heal right.....i had 10 levels fused in dec 2016 so i'm 15 months (about) now....i'm still terrified of ice.....(i'm just east of you, in Ontario Canada-it snowed again last night...sigh).  I didn't start using the vacuum until my surgeon cleared me at 6 months.  and it was rough!!!!  top cupboards - well, i've always been 2 inches too short for that, but i could finally at a year get my arm up over my head enough to get there.  i was cleared for everything at a year, but without my physiotherapist i wouldn't be there yet.  10 weeks is super early still in recovery, so i would talk with your surgeon/doctor, and be patient.....i was cleared for physio at 3 months, when i asked a 6 weeks if i could start doing things i was told firmly to "be patient".  of course, i would overdo it, and then spend 4-5 miserable days recovering again, setting things back a bit.....it's only 2 more weeks to your followup.....please talk with your doctor before you start doing too much-vacuuming is very hard on the back, as is mopping....and for me, stooping is a forever no-no (but i'm different from your fusion, so please please ask your doctor).  and, be careful on the ice-we have swans flying over lately, so hopefully spring is on the way!

    Veritas-Health Moderator
    Dec '16 T10-S2 fusion with pelvic fixation. Laminectomies L2, L3, L4, L5, facet removal, cages L4-5, L5-S1, severe scoliosis, arthritis and stenosis repair. 

  • I agree with WLlady's comments, you need to speak with your doctor and get clearance for some of the activities you mentioned.

    I'm 12 weeks out from a full lumbar fusion, and was finally given the OK to do "light housekeeping".  I can sweep the floor, but the dustpan part I avoid doing (my husband does that). 

    I am very mindful when squatting, and try not to bend over.  The lower cabinets are tricky. I squat and hold in my core like crazy.

    Are you doing PT?  Those exercises have helped me strengthen my core so that I'm not over using my tender back.

    Sounds like you're doing well~ stay in touch!

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  • hi lizzyklein

    welcome to spine-health

    get that good advice from your team at your check up.  you may find they introduce physiotherapy at this point to move your recovery forward.

    i was given squatting exercises but certainly not at your recovery time.  even when i started with squatting at a later time, i had to hang onto the work top.  this was only to take one item at a time out of the washing machine and this was a progression on from using my handy helper to unload it.

    i had help with lower cupboards and even now, i will always use other people's help to get heavy things out of the lower cupboards.  i did have to re-organise my kitchen and had more things kept on the work top to reduce my frustration when other people were not there to help :-).

    patience is the most important thing to have during your early recovery.

    you could also join in our surgery buddies groups, under, forum topics, if you haven't found those as yet.  just add a comment to one of the groups that is still active.  i found these so helpful during my recovery.  it's not such an isolated recovery i found, once i joined in.

    i have added two links below to help new members with information and these also contain the forum rules.  there is lots of material to research that will give you the power of knowledge.

    welcome to spine health




    L5/S1 herniation Apr 2013
    nerve root injections Oct 2013
    L5/S1 discectomy Jan 2014
    L5/S1 nerve roo &, facet joint injections & edpidural Jan 2015
    L5/S1 revised discectomy, L4/L5 discectomy & Wallis Inswing Stabilisation L4/L5 May 1st 2015
    L4-S1 TLIF with decompression June 2017
  • Thank all of you so much for your replies. It is nice to know that I have people that I can relate to that have been through the same thing. I understand too well about 2 steps forward and 4 steps back when I make a mistake and do something I shouldn't. I definitely pay for it! Patience has never been my virtue. I was very athletic before surgery, I had 4 epidurals prior and then finally they weren't helping anymore so they sent me to see my neurosurgeon. I guess I was not prepared for the recovery time required. I should have done the reading before I had surgery instead of after. I didn't know what I was in for they, never really explained it like they should have  at my pre-op appointment. I thought I would be up and running by 6 weeks and fully healed by 3 months. I go see my surgeon a week from Monday so I'll be anxious to see how my x-rays look. I haven't worked for 5 months but need to start the end of April again. I hope I will be feeling a lot better than I am now or it's going to be miserable. Just curious how long does it take before you don't feel the hardware when you lay on your back? Also is all the pain that I'm feeling around and above and below my incision site my muscles healing? It's hard to even go without a brace right now for very long it's so uncomfortable. Trying to stay positive and take it day by day asking God for strength and healing. I know I'll get through this! Very happy to have new friends on the form to talk to about it that can understand! God Bless you all. Lizzy

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