Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!


Quick Start Forum Video Tutorial

Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

The main site has all the formal medical articles and videos for you to research on.

Walking - how soon on average?

kathyykkathyy Posts: 585
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:25 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I went back and reread the posts regarding walking but was not able to figure out how early, on average, folks are walking after lumbar fusion surgery. I know everyone is different but it would help to have some sort of general go-by. I'm defining walking as something done outside and intentionally - not just walking around the house in the course of everyday activities.

And for those of you who are early walkers, how long did you walk in the beginning in terms of time? 10 minutes? 20 minutes, etc.

Would appreciate any guidelines and experiences you can share with me. Also, anybody work out with light free weights for upper body strength and if so, when did you begin.

As always, I appreciate all your help. Kathy in Atlanta


  • I did not have a fusion, just a microdiskectomy. And, if I could have, I'd have been walking as soon as I awoke from anaesthesia. I felt that good, that fast. I was up as soon as they got me into a room, got me settled, and left.
    First, I walked around my room a few minutes, then laid in bed until the nurses came in to check on me.

    About half an hour later, I peeked outside my door, no one there, so I took a little stroll out to the hallway; next thing I know, I'm on the elevator on my way outside! Came back to my room about 30 minutes later. No one even noticed I was gone.

    I am quite sure that fusion is much more involved than what I had done. Take your time. Don't rush. The nurses or doctors will let you know when to start walking.

    Mostly, though - listen to your body. If you start hurting, stop doing whatever it is you are doing and rest.

    Best of luck Kathy. If you've already had your surgery, how are you doing? If you're surgery has not been done yet, keep us posted on your progress, ok?

  • hiya kathy.
    I had a plif on L4,L5,S1 feb 2007 and i was up walking the next day up and down the hospital corridor.A few days after i got home i started walking around the roads which took me 10-15 mins at a very slow pace.The next week i ventured a little further to the school to pick our children up which again took me around 10 mins there and ten back.I was in pain doing this but i felt it better to get up and about otherwise i would seize up and then the pain would be worst which did actually happen the time i had a lazy week.I started going to the gym after 4 weeks i think, and at first i just used the pool,i walked up and down the pool and swam the odd length.A few weeks later i started using the treadmill and bike and gently increased my fitness.Keep doing the exercises given to you otherwise you will suffer and it will take longer for you in your recovery.I still suffer pain in my hips which i think is from my sacroiliac joint but only when i sit for too long or stand on the spot for too long,walking for me is fine though.

    Good luck
  • advertisement
  • Hi Kathyy,

    At 4 days after my L5-S1 fusion I was walking around the corridor at the hospital 4 times which equaled about 1/4 mile, 3 times per day. Once I got home I did at least 1 mile per day on the treadmill, broken into 4 times about 15 minutes at a slow pace. At about 3 weeks that increased to 2-4 miles per day total (spaced out as I could tolorate). This of course was all based on what my doctor felt was OK. I have decreased this recentely due to new pain, but I always try do at least an hour total of official Treadmill walking. I would love to get outside but our streets are so uneven and hilly,lol.

    I did not work with free weights for the upper body, but my doctor said no when I asked about using my Bowflex at 4 weeks post op. Just check with your doctor for what they think is right for you.

    Good Luck,
  • You guys are awesome! I'm 2 weeks and 2 days postop and still in my "jammies." Am 56 and had plif with decompression surgery and unexpected removal of a cyst - hence the long procedure. Diagnosed with spondy level 2 plus extreme stenosis (was barely able to walk before surgery.) During surgery lost more blood than my doc wanted during the 6 hour procedure but he decided based on my hemoglobin not to transfuse. Have had EXTREME pain at site of bone graft - much less at main incision site. Also still having neurological symptoms in legs and feet. Using Lortab still - about 40 mgs a day plus tylenol. Have been active around house (did 4 loads of laundry yesterday-yay) but haven't gotten to the point of being up and dressed and out walking - haven't felt like it.

    But-----the good news is I actually woke up feeling better today for the first day. Leg symptoms much calmed down. If I continue this trend I actually plan on dressing tomorrow (wooohoooo) and beginning my walking program.

    My doc won't let me take a bath, much less swim in a pool yet although I love to swim. At least today I see a little light at the end of the tunnel! Kathy in Atlanta
  • Hi Kathy, I had PLIF on August 5th. I walked the night of surgery, ouch, down about 2 rooms and back. Then around the corridors on day 2-5. Once home I began walking outside at first with my walker only made it down 2 houses and back. Than half a block, whole block, gradually increased to 2 miles by about 4 weeks post-op. I also started pool therapy at 4 weeks as well. In the early days when I didn't want to get out of the jammmies, I often walked circles on my patio with my walker. My daughter called me a hamster on a wheel, LOL :))( . Tomorrow will be 4 months and I have been back to work less than 2 weeks. I am a post-partum nurse and I have used a pedometer at work and often walk 5-10 miles in my 12 hour shift, yikes. No wonder I don't feel like walking when I get home, rather I feel like passing out =))
    Good luck on your walking program. Just start out slow and gradually build up. >:D< Cali-Sue
  • advertisement
  • I was walking shortly after my 360 fusion. L4/L5 with titanium ADR and hardwear in back on November 10th. I was only in the hospital overnight and I was walking the hospital corridors that night, one lap at a time, many times during the night I think just out of boredom. Couldn't sleep as the nurses did a great job doing their. I have walked up and down my long driveway a few times a day post-op and have since been walking a mile. I now have to walk inside on the treadmill since I live in Wisconsin and I don't want to take a chance on falling from the snow and ice. I am staying at 1 mile at a time as I have a little nerve issue in my lower leg. I will be doing 2-3 miles soon. The doctor wants me to wait a little while because of the nerve issue. Everyone has their own pace, don't overdo it. And as always...Check with your doctor/nurse with your questions. Best Wishes on a speedy recovery!
  • stuck in bed for a few days due to low BP but after that I had a walker and was doing the laps of the hospital corridors. I had L3-S1 PLIF.
    They took my walker away from me at 5 days :jawdrop: but I am now glad they did.
    I went to rehab hospital for 2 weeks which had extensive grounds to wander so I did a lot of walking there 10-15 mins at a time 5-6 times a day. When I got home it wasn't so easy as the footpath is pretty bed. I would walk to the corner shop 15 mins where there is a bed shop and lie down for 5 before heading back =)) I dont think anyone in the bed shop ever noticed.
    Once I was able to drive at 6 week I could drive to the park which had a propper walking track and do laps there which was much better. i could then do about 40 mins with a stop in between.

    Dont feel you have to judge yourself by what anyone else has done but certainly there are so many here that are an inspiration.

    Good luck with your recovery
    Blessings Sara O:)
  • hi folks, thanks for all of your time and information. i'm 9 days post-op with L4 & L5 Fusion. Question, how much and what type of pain has most of you experianced after surgery in the lumbar area? Also, I can be walking around with little discomfort at times then out of the blue without warning i get a such intense pain in that area for about 10 seconds then it goes away. pain is not a sting or burn nor is it dull but it is a pain that I reach and hold onto whatever is around me during the seizure if thats appropriat to call it that.

    Yhanks, terry
  • Kathyy -

    Prior to surgery, my doctor told me I would be able to walk as much as I was comfortable with.

    My surgery was first thing on a Monday morning and I walked a little bit in my room that evening. The next day I walked for 10-15 minutes in the hallway, and went around the entire floor the morning of the following day (I went home that afternoon).

    The first day after I got home I walked to the mailbox, which is approximately 90 steps from my front door. Each day I added a little more and by the next Monday I was walking around the block. I added another block by Wednesday, which is around 1/4 to 1/3 of a mile. By Friday I was doing 1/2 mile and then started adding 1/4 mile or so every day.

    By the time I was at 5 weeks, I was walking 4-6 miles per day, split between 2 different sessions. Note that all this walking was with a cane.

    My guess is that in the first 2 weeks - it probably took me 25-30 minutes to walk 1/4 mile. By the time I was at 5 weeks, the 4-6 miles took 2.5-3.5 hours total.
Sign In or Register to comment.