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Physical therapy after L5-S1 fusion.

Hey everyone, 

My L5-S1 XLIF & PLIF fusion was two weeks ago.  I am very fortunate that my doctor has told me I am way ahead of where I should be.  I am not using a walker, I am getting around great, and walking 3-5 times a day. I credit much of the success to a few things: I'm only 47, I am not overweight, I was swimming 2-4 times a week 30-45 minutes at a time before surgery and my surgeon is one of the best on the west coast.  I consider myself very fortunate.

That being said, they want me to start PT.  As a former collegiate baseball player, I've had my fair share of experiences with PT trainers.  Some are fantastic & some are complete bone heads.  I had gotten 6 opinions before I chose to go with my surgeon.  I asked all kinds of questions.  A few surgeons told me that I am young, healthy  and in good shape and that PT isnt the main concern in the 3 months following L5-S1 fusion.  These surgeons told me the primary goal is to walk, build up my strength through walking, build up the length of walks and to not screw up the work they would perform.  They told me it's about giving the fusion a chance to heal.  

What is your opinion on this matter?  

Thank you in advance.

Vegas

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Comments

  • vegas

    Glad you are doing so well, after both my lumbar fusion surgeries it was at the 3 month mark before I was allowed to start PT, but you always want to follow your surgeons instructions.

    Chip

    challenger
    Veritas-Health Moderator


  • Chip,

    I am a little skiddish about jumping right into PT two weeks after fusion.  Everything I've read and the people I've talked with say give it time to heal.  Don't get me wrong, my back hurts.  I don't want to contradict what my surgeon says.  Uhhgggg.

    Vegas

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  • Vegas

    If your surgeon really wants you to go ahead with therapy, make sure he gives a specific plan to the therapist and they stick with it, I have seen on the forum that surgeons have started doing therapy earlier than they used to, but I still wouldn't want to do anything too physical at the stage you are at, like you, I never used a walker after my fusions and was getting around pretty good, but I still wasn't allowed to start therapy until the 3 month mark.

    Are you still in a back brace? I was in a brace for 3 months after surgery, didn't have to wear it around the house, just when going out.

    Chip 


    challenger
    Veritas-Health Moderator


  • Chip,

    I have a back brace.  I wear it almost everywhere.  It really helps.  

    There is the mental part that is hard.  I am a very active person with a 4 & 6 year old.   My kids are bored and want super dad to return.  Its frustrating.  A good friend of mine told me "look at the being laid up in bed as a part of PT.  You don't want to do it, but you need to.  You are no use to your kids if you are crippled."

  • vegas

    Sounds like you have a very wise friend, I always looked at this way, I took the time, money, effort and pain to get this done, if I don't let it heal I will be right back in the same place.

    The brace does help a lot, but dang they are aggrevating.

    Chip

    challenger
    Veritas-Health Moderator


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  • Chip,

    Your responses really help my mental attitude.  From the bottom of my heart, thank you.  It means the world at this time of my life.

    Chris

  • Chris

    That is what is so great about this forum, there are so many helpful people here, and it helps to talk to someone that has been in the same situation, you can tell somebody what is going on, but if they have not lived it, they cannot understand.

    Take care and keep us posted

    Chip

    challenger
    Veritas-Health Moderator


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