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Using a walker after lumber fusion?

LisaRachelLLisaRachel Posts: 286
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:47 AM in Recovering from Surgery
Hi my fellow spineys,

I'm having my surgery in Nov and wondering how long to you use a walker for?
I know after the surgery in hospital I will be using one with a physio but when I get home will I still be required to use one? I was in a home health care shop ordering my supplies and talked to the sales person about renting them. I'm not sure If I'll even need too.

Thank you and hope all of you are having a 3-4 pain level today :)



  • I had a one level PLIF, went home on the 3rd postop day, and used the walker for about one week. My adult son had to help me out of bed at home for about 4 days also, after that I was able to very slowly manage getting out of bed using the log roll technique.

    I had a fairly normal course for a fusion in the early postop period, and felt that the walker was needed for me. Could not believe that I was having to use a "walker", but I definitely didn't want to take a risk of falling.

    So...that is my personal experience. :-)

    Good luck and take care,

  • I had a 2 level tlif. 2 days in the hospital and i used the walker for about 2 weeks.
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  • I've had a 2 level PLIF and a 2 level ALIF. I used a walker for just 1 or 2 days in hospital for PLIF, not at all for ALIF. We're all different, do whats best for you, if you feel like you need one, then by all means use one until you feel secure, maybe move on to a cane, then just you!

    Good luck,

  • I just had a 2-level PLIF and the only time I used a walker was in the hospital. A walker for me to use at home was delivered to my room and I tried it for maybe half a day when I got home, then set it aside. Did the same thing when I had a total knee replacement 6 months ago. I simply did't need a walker and can't find any benefit of using one. Everyone is different, though, and this is something you'll have to decide for yourself. :)

    What I did use was the pretty flowered cane I'd bought before my knee surgery (never used that then either). This time the cane came in very handy at night when I was up to the bathroom or pacing the floor in the dark when I was hurting. I also used it every time I went outside, especially if I was walking on grass which can be very uneven. You want to avoid falling, whatever that takes. Don't need even the cane now that I'm off the heavy duty pain meds (am just taking Vicodin). My head is much clearer and my balance much better.

    2009 Foraminotomy C6-72010 PLIF L4-S1Multi RFA's, cervical inj, lumbar injLaminectomy L3-4 and fusion w/internal fixation T10-L4 July 17Fusion C2-C5 yet to be scheduled
  • I used mine in house for about a week, my legs were very weak & shaky. I continued to use it for my daily walks, just a couple of blocks, but again, my legs keep going numb, so I didn't want to risk falling. I just did about 3 weeks of p/t and legs are feeling a little stronger.
    I just started using a cane for my walks, again got noodle legs. Rather be safe then sorry.
    I found the walker very useful at the side of the bed, log role & then grabbed it to pull up and off the bed. Also I use it to lean on for some of my p/t exercises.
    Everyone is so different, I was 5 days in hospital (only planned on 3) and I had no physio, didn't know I needed the walker till I got home. It's good that you are actively planning ahead.
    Best of luck to you for a successful surgery & a speedy recovery.
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  • He did use a cane when he went for walks for the first month or so but then tossed it as he honestly felt he did better without it. However he could also manage stairs and we have a walk in shower so that might have made a difference.
  • Hi,
    I had a fusion done in June of this year. Stayed in the hospital 5 days. Could have gone home 1 day sooner but had a fever of 102 and they kept me for tests and observation. When I was in the hospital, i used the walker. I used it at home for about 2 weeks and then tried using it only when I went outside the house. I can't really remember how long I used it. I do know i used it in the house only if I was shaky because of the risk of falling. Fusion surgery takes a lot out of you. Good luck to everyone who had or is planning on having back surgery. :H :D :*
  • Hi there - I had a two-level TLIF from L4-S1 on 10/1. I thought I would be using a walker, or at least a cane, for some time during recovery. I used a walker to stand up for the first time out of bed, and used it to shuffle around the floor a bit. My neurosurgeon advised me not to use either if I didn't need to. I've been walking unassisted for the last two weeks. He said by using even a cane, you will start to favor one side of your body more, and that can possibly create issues with the way that the bone fuses.
  • I had AxiaLIF on L5-S1. I needed my walker for about a week to walk. And another week just to help me get to standing position and then I could walk by myself.
  • Hi Lisa,

    I am not sure how long you will need a walker, but I did want to mention a resource to you. I found in our area that the senior centers in our town and surrounding towns will let you borrow walkers and other equipment for free. If they don't have a walker, they will often direct you to a source that has one. The Masons in our town happen to handle the supply of equipment for the senior center. My insurance provided one walker for my therapy, and I borrowed another to leave by the bathroom. My wheelchair will get me to the bathroom, but I can't get it through the door or move it in there. For others that read this, they also let me borrow a wheelchair while mine was being delivered. Good Luck with your surgery and recovery! i wish you much success and pain relief!

    God Bless,
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