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Can I run post-fusion

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,606
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:27 AM in Exercise and Rehab
Hello. I had an anterior lumbar fusion L-5/S-1 in 2004. I am still very much in pain daily but have learned to deal with it. I seem to be very stiff and am sure I need to stretch more. I workout on the elliptical 4-5 times a week with no problems. My issue is I used to be VERY athletic, played basketball,tennis,paddleball,golf, volleyball, ran, was a police officer and now I am very limited to what I can do. I wondered if anyone out there runs after having the same surgery I did and is it ok to do so? I really miss being able to run and would love to do it but also I am very young still 31 and don't want to cause any future issues down the road by running. Thanks for taking the time to read this. I stumbled upon this website in hopes of meeting some other people with fusions :-)
Julie
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13

Comments

  • hi and welcome to the forum! :H we are here to offer you support and answer what questions we can. i do not have experience with your surgery but we do have pain in common. ~X( check out the "Good News" forum for a good read on post surgery SH members.. =D> take a look at what they are up to!! i do hope you are able to get back to where you want to be. :D Jenny :)
  • I am 56 and just had my 3 month post-op checkup. Happy to say all is good. I was a runner for 25 years and I also loved high impact aerobics. Who knows how much these activites contributed to my lumbar problems. I suspect they didn't help. Especially since I fractured my sacrum 12 years ago ice skating!

    But my point is this - today I asked my doc what I could do to avoid future back fusions. As we all know, after one fusion, the likelihood of future problems with the adjacent vertebra is a big issue. He told me it was a usage issue. The more direct pressure I put on my spine, the quicker it will wear out. Just like a set of tires. He said specifically the things that would stress the area around the fused area are anything high impact. Jumping, running, carrying heavy weights are all things that I was advised to avoid. Including carrying my 1-1/2 yr old granddaughter around too much. Lifting her, OK. Carrying her around, not so good. On the other hand, walking, biking, swimming and hiking are terrific. (No rock climbing-lol)

    I know how addictive running can be. I loved it. But I've decided I can substitute speedwalking and be better for it. I've decided to define new "normals" and do everything I can not to have this surgery again!

    Just thought I'd share my thoughts with you. You are young. Your back has to "hold up" alot longer than mine does. I'd suggest you find some things to substitute for your higher impact activities. Just one person's opinion. Take it with a grain of salt and best of luck to you!!!

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  • Thank you very much for your advice. It is hard being 31 knowing my very active lifestyle has to be adjusted. You have such a positive attitude and I love it! Thank you for helping me attempt to alter my thinking. IT is going to be so difficult since being so active and hardcore athlete runs thick in my blood. Take care!
    Julie
  • Kyliesmommy0630 said:
    Hello. I had an anterior lumbar fusion L-5/S-1 in 2004. I am still very much in pain daily but have learned to deal with it. I seem to be very stiff and am sure I need to stretch more. I workout on the elliptical 4-5 times a week with no problems. My issue is I used to be VERY athletic, played basketball,tennis,paddleball,golf, volleyball, ran, was a police officer and now I am very limited to what I can do. I wondered if anyone out there runs after having the same surgery I did and is it ok to do so? I really miss being able to run and would love to do it but also I am very young still 31 and don't want to cause any future issues down the road by running. Thanks for taking the time to read this. I stumbled upon this website in hopes of meeting some other people with fusions :-)
    Julie
    Hello, i just had a revision and went two levels higheron jan 13 09, before that i had my first surgery nov 21 06. i started treadmill everyday 6 day a week that helped with the pain so a feww months ago i started a lil lite jogging, and forget it iwas in oain for 2 days, you should ask your doctor i know they told me no horse back riding i guess cause it is to bouncey, but the doc said i can ride a motorcycle hahah now thats funny i am being very patien . not going to even step in the gym til doc allows me to!! good luck and please be careful
  • I had PLIF on my L5/S1 in Oct of 06. I run at least a mile every morning and ride my bicycle 200 miles a week. It can be done. It aches a little, but nothing compared to pre surgery.
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  • We have members who have returned to running, golf, bowling, cycling and even surfing after fusion surgery. So, running is by no means off limits. However, as kathyy pointed out (or her doctor pointed out) anything high impact puts your spine at more risk of future problems.

    In my case my surgeon said it was OK to go back to high impact activities, but my physical therapist said NO, including no running.
    Keep positive!

    Bruce

    ...an old timer here and ex-moderator

  • I ran 36 miles a week before I injured my neck. I'm having the acdf on my C5-C6 next week and I asked my surgeon if I'll run after the surgery. He didn't really say if I could, but gave me a look like it wasn't a good idea. I'm only 34 and I can't imagine myself not being a runner anymore.
  • I was told by my surgeon that all contact and high impact sports are out for me post fusion. This has been hard for me to accept, as I ran a lot in my teens. I always took it for granted that I would be able to run the London Marathon one day, when I wanted to.I hadn't realised that my opportunity to do it had slipped by unnoticed in my mid twenties. I find it hard watching running on the tv...it sounds stupid but it makes me feel emotional and I have a real feeling of loss. I am jealous of friends who can decide to go out running on the spur of the moment.

    At the end of the day the important thing is that I can walk around upright with relatively low levels of pain. I do swim, walk and do pilates. I tried playing Badminton and that is when I realised that I am not "normal" physically, but I am not disabled either...I am in the twlight zone between the two - I can do overhead shots, but can't get to drop shots over the net. I got really frustrated that people could see my weakness and take advantage, but was happy at what I could do! This sums up my life...glad at what I can do and frustrated by what I can't! I always assume I can do what I want, but my body tells me otherwise!

    I am hoping to find other sports I can do - I guess it will
    be a case of trying things and seeing how my body reacts.I have been tempted to go against my surgeons advice, but I don't want to risk ending up on the operating table again.

    Best Wishes

    Anna

    L4/L5 & L5/S1 Fusion and decompression surgery with instrumentation 01 October 2007
  • It's been a year since my cervical diagnosis, which mandated my last run. I was bitter and angry at first, but as time passed, I've done better. I try to remind myself how lucky I am to walk!!--Mazy
  • so I've canvassed multiple medical professionals for a completely anecdotal, unscientific survey of this issue. my neurosurgeon, who only does cervical vertebrae, has told me that she has a former patient who is back doing ironman races. so her advice - "no bungy jumping." that was it. and my favorite physical therapist (specializes in necks and jaws) made it clear that my biggest risk was my bad posture, that is, what I do with my waking hours seven days a week - sitting, standing, walking, etc. so what did I take from this - I've got my act together posture-wise, and I let myself run 1-2 miles once or twice a week. it's the last thing I do at the gym - I go up to the track and sprint all out - I fly by people moseying along with their ten-minute mile jogs like I'm some olympic athlete (which I am SO not). I just can't explain how good it feels after being in bed for almost a year to run really, really, fast. so. I am not a medical professional, and maybe I will scrunch another disc. or get hit by a bus. but for now, I am running, just a little bit .... but way fast!
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