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The bending, lifting and twisting restrictions

slowpoke60sslowpoke60 Posts: 139
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:33 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
How long do you have to watch yourself on these restrictions? I am going to have surgery on 7-23rd. on L5 S1. and was wondering how long I would have to be careful and not do any bending, twisting and lifting.


  • The surgeon will usually tell you when you can start things up again, usually on a follow up. It's really different for everyone, and depends on a lot of different things, for example, what kind of surgery you are having and how you are healing on follow ups. This is something you need to discuss with your surgeon.

    Take care!

  • Whether you are having Decompression surgery or fusion you will certainly be restricted on all the above. Your surgeon will let you know what his parameters are and I suggest that you stick to what he says, otherwiase you could undo all the good that will have been done. His regime will likely be to restrict all bending, twisting and have lifting restricted to no more than 5 pounds for the first 90 days, subject to the individual procedure. I am sure that he will let you know and good Luck with the surgery.
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  • Thanks,
    I have a long list of questions for him when I go in Wednesday, 7-22 for all my pre-op.

  • It will be a fusion for the L5 S1.
  • I had the same surgery on June 25th. So far I'm still limited to walking. No bending, lifting, or twisting. I have a checkup on the 23rd (July) and I'm goint to ask about Pilates. Good Luck.
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  • Thanks
    Good Luck to you also. I see that you are just about to your first month post surgery. Hope everything is going great.

  • GENERALLY SPEAKIING....if you have fusion, you need to follow the rules until you fuse...which at the earliest will be around 3 months. (There may be some fusion earlier, but it will just be getting going.) Some people do not fuse for six months or longer.

    One caveat to the "just listen to your surgeon:" some doctors will not give a patient any instructions. I was very glad I had done lots of reading before my fusion and had participated in a board such as this, or I would have been ignorant of any and all tips for recovery. My surgeon lived by "if it hurts, don't do it." While it is nice not to have lots of rules, I really wished I had a bit more direction since I had never had any surgery prior to my fusion.

    Joyce ~ Be sure to add reaching to the bending, twisting and liftings. From now on, avoid reaching for anything, but, especially overhead. Move your body to what you need rather than reaching for it. It is especially damaging to bend AND twist at the same time!!

    Even after you have healed, it will be important to always think about your back and how you are treating it. Once fused, you will be more likely to develop problems with adjacent levels so it will be important to pay attention to using good body mechanics, having good posture, etc.

    Even after 19 months after fusion, if I bend over multiple times in a day I will regret it later.
  • I had the surgery January 21st, and it was a good 3 months before I could bend / lift / twist / reach. You will ACHE and you can't really stretch, that drove me nuts. But it was worth it, I have been pain free and medication free. My only advice is to follow your doctor's instructions, don't overdo it (and you will overdo it - inevitable as you try to find your limits).

    I just got clearance from my surgeon to do yoga / pilates, and I am still nervous to do either!
    Jan 2009 L5-S1 ALIF
    May 2017 ALIF L4-L5 with PLF rods added L4-L5-S1
  • My physical therapist doesn't want me to bend and twist until all my discomfort goes away. Granted I have twisted (but gently) on occasion after 8 weeks. If I need to bend, I squat down or do a "golfer's lunge", your body looks like a seesaw. Have your PT or surgeon show you how if you can. I started to do the golfer's lunge to pick up lighter things because my knees started to hurt from squatting so much. It is frustrating how often I drop things now. Or maybe I am more aware because I can't bend.

    By the way, I have been told to avoid bending at the waist to pick up objects. Moreover, bending and twisting at the same time to pick or move things is really big no-no.
  • Here are a few other things to avoid if possible:

    straining, hard sneezing, coughing, hard-laughing, shoving, nudging, dragging, sitting for long periods of time
    On the sunny and mild Central Coast of California

    L4-L5 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy June, 2007
    L5-S1 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy May, 2008
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