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15 week First PT visit after surgery

Shell74Shell74 Posts: 300
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:25 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I had my first PT visit this morning and dont know what to think. OUCH, those first movements dont make the body happy! First he did muscle testing with the dynamometer thing. My right lower leg is about 50% normal but my left lower leg is at about 10%, he gave me a number in pounds as well, but I dont remember them, and I have no reflexes at the knee or ankle on the left side. They tried multiple times with 2 different therapists. I can go on my toes but not on my heals. My upper legs and hip muscles are at 100% in the normal range. He didnt do to much because of the concern. He did also feel the lump I have next to my inscision, although it was small in the morning. The therapist was going to be contacting the doctor before he procedes.

I guess if thats the only permanent damage I have from the compression before the surgery or damage from the surgery itself I should be happy. It could still heal more also.

Just want to thank everyone for their support,


  • Well it sounds like you are on your way! <:P I can imagine how painful those first movements might be. Little by little it will get better. :) <br />I haven't had my surgery yet, but stories like yours let me know what I'm in for. :)

  • I'm like 2.5 months away from PT and some PT has been coming to the house post surgical. I also have no knee/ankle reflex in the left leg. My prob is my quad- which is in atrophy. I cannot use the leg to climb stairs- its just so weak. Good thing i dont know my numbers because that thigh must read 10% IF I'm lucky. Keep me posted on ur progress. I know I'll be in for it when my turn comes around. Be strong so you can get strong. Wishing you strength both emotionally and physically. Im 2 weeks out from my back fusion and am seeing signs of recovery.
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  • At least you are on your way. Dont be concerned about the reflexes yet. Mine tend to be good one day and not there the next depending upon how I feel. For a long time I didn't have any in the legs at all but some days now they are all there.
    Take it easy and enjjoy the freedom of more exercises.

    Vicki, yes my quads were the same and it still isn't good. I have lots of exercises for them but for 7 years they were going downhill it is going to take a while to get back. Time is our best friend.

    Blessings Sara O:)
  • I am glad you have reached this "milestone" in recovery! Just remember...(I am sure you know this) Tell them when ANYTHING hurts or feels uncomfortable and try not to over-do!
    I just started PT for my shoulder (non-work comp...but really is...). soreness and range of motion has gotten worse the last couple of days..PT said from the stretching they are doing.
    Anyway, keep up the good work..we are here for you! :)))
  • My PT called me back and said he would only get me in the water for now due to the swelling next to the insicion and new leg weakness. I have been unofficially doing water exercise for the last few weeks but hopefully this will be more.

    Pain has been thru the roof and I am taking max meds. If the headache doesnt go away till to Monday I may demand the MRI sooner, just to be sure a leak isnt the issue causing these symptoms. I also have nausea, vertigo and tingling in my hands, all I want to do is sleep. This is rediculious its getting worse.

    dbullwinkle- Shoulder PT yuck. I bought myself one of those big blue gel icepacks for at home. It helped alot.

    All I wanted to do today was put up my xmas tree and thats not going to get done, I really want to cry.

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  • I'm so sorry you are having so much pain now! And you were doing so well!

    If the headache worsens over the weekend, I'd think about going to the ER if you can't get in touch with your doctor.

    Many hugs to you today. >:D< >:D< Don't worry about getting the tree up today...it'll get up when it gets up. Don't add that stress to your life today, ok?
  • Thanks for the hugs Joy. I will definetely call or head to the ER if it gets worse. Wednesday when I saw him he said there was no indication I could have a leak and not to worry sbout it. As long as I stay laying down on my side its not to bad. Glad I have a laptop that I can prop up while I am laying down,lol.

    My 11 year old daughter was upset about the tree, so she plans on bringing it down herself, probably about 15-20 trips for her,lol. No real tree for us this year. The guys can be in charge of lights when they get home from hunting.

    Thanks again
  • Oh Shell, hang in there sweety, it is bound to get better. You rest and take care, perhaps you can supervise the tree decorating while lying down ;) Let us know how you do and about the MRI when it happens. You are in my thoughts and prayers along with all my spiney friends.
    >:D< :* >:D< :* Cali-Sue
  • Shell,

    As a point of reference, you had your surgery 3 days after I had my single-level PLIF/decompression/laminectomy at L5/S1.

    At my 5 1/2 week follow-up appointment with the PA at the end of September, I had almost no reflex at the left knee and absolutely no reflex on the right.

    In the second week of November, I had an appointment with a new primary care physician (insurance change to an HMO and needed a referral for my surgeon). On her first attempt, I had no reflex at either knee. She tried one more time 10 minutes later and then got some reflex from both sides. Like Sara said, it appears to vary from time to time.

    I believe the lack of reflex is common after fusion surgery and should go away with time. At my last appointment before Thanksgiving, my surgeon told me this is partly due to inflammation around the nerves and should go away over time. As we always say, we are only 3 months out from surgery, so our bodies still have a lot of recovering to do.

    My surgeon is not having me do PT - I have a home program. I can tell you that my back muscles were extremely sore at first - I needed extra pain meds to deal with it. Some of the muscles in your lower back have not been used since your surgery, so you have to take it slow and easy to get them back into action. Several weeks into my program and I'm definitely making progress, though sometimes I overdo it and pay for it the next day or two. I have also noticed some issues with my legs, including my hamstrings being extremely tight. I'm working on them slowly, too.

    I know shoulder PT can be painful, and icing your shoulder can be tricky. I rear-ended a semi-truck several years ago (my fault) and had 2 surgeries because of it - one to replace a torn ligament in my right thumb and the other to repair damage to my left shoulder. The shoulder surgery was arthroscopic including removal of a huge amount of scar tissue, removing a huge bone spur and repairing a partial rotator cuff tear. Icing was tricky, but the surgeon gave me a good folding gel pack that I used on my back after the fusion surgery. I did around 8-10 weeks of PT on my shoulder. It was a bit painful, but did help. To this day, I do not have 100% range of motion and never will, but I am as functional as I need to be and want to be - that's all that matters.

    Try to be patient and good luck in your recovery. You're coming along better than you think you are.
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