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Yogi about to have discectomy on L5 S1

I am 27 year old who practices ashtanga yoga 5 days a week. I have not been practising for almost a year due to the pain in my right leg from my L5 S1 herniation. I am about to go for surgery in a few days and I am worried about limitations I might face after the surgery.
Although I know that it will take some time for me to get back to my normal practice, I am wondering if I will be limited in back bends later down the road. I dont expect to be doing drop backs within the first 6 month or anything but I would like to know if anyone here has recovered from this surgery and was able to go back to doing deep back bends a year or two after the surgery. Please let me know. :smile:" alt=":smile:" height="20" /> 


  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 13,584
    There are no medical professionals on the forum side of this site, therefore no one is capable or permitted to provide medical advice.

    The answer to your question regarding some of the future yoga activities needs to come from your doctor.   I know based on my own physical condition, that my doctor would approve only a specific style of yoga
    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences 
  • itsautonomicitsautonomic LouisianaPosts: 2,561
    For sure run by dr for approval first , but I do know people with fusions that do and have done yoga for a long time after. For them it was key to getting life back. I'm sure you know most yoga poses can be modified for comfort and listening to body.
    the disc will always be weaker than a good disc after surgery so keeping everything around it strong is key but not re injuring it is just as important.  I hope the Dr allows you back over time, good luck
    Do your due dilegence, trust you know your body and question everything if it does not fit. Advocate for yourself and you will be suprised what will be revealed trusting your body and instinct.
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  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 7,385
    Honorary Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • HualaniHualani Big Ilsland HawaiiPosts: 57
    Yogagirl88 welcome!  Thanks for posting your concerns, and please let me share some optimism.
    I've been practicing yoga and meditation since 1974. yes injuries have interrupted my yoga in the past.
    prior to my lumbar discetomy and eventual laminectomy I was terrified or surgery. I'd help teach first level chronic pain
    management as a volunteer, for those who didnt have the skills for relaxation asanas, visualization techniques, biofeedback, and such. When you hang out with chronic pain patients you tend to meet those that surgery did not help.
    Here's the GREAT NEWS!: At the office of my neurosugeon I ran into old surfer buddies that are prime athletes,
    and 100% successful post surgery patients. In fact i learned the L5-S1 is many NS "Bread and Butter" or so common as to be analogous to orthopedist reducing wrist fractures.
    The first thing I couldnt shake after waking up from my surgery was "why the heck did I wait so long?"
    For me, the sciatica was immediately gone!, I could lift my left leg on my own, lay down in a bed, and all kinds of things
    I'd had "work arounds" in life to deal with.
    I wish you the success that I had, and many many others.
    yes...you'll need to let things heal before going back to yoga. I think surgeons realize the vast variety of yoga forms
    in our world- therefore a one size fits all answer is give yourself time to heal.

    Life is too short to be serious all the time.
    so if you cant laugh at yourself, contact me
    I'll laugh at you. B)
  • Liz53Liz53 MissouriPosts: 150
    I had a L3-4 microdiscetomy 2 1/2 yrs ago result of a shoveling snow injury. I had subsequent low back pain and had tried everything with no relief. My Pt and Dr encouraged me to try yoga and I hired a personal trainer but had a bad outcome and reherniated the same disc back in November. I am scheduled for a repeat microdiscetomy on March 15 and probably will be hesitant to try yoga again. This is my individual experience and I do think with proper healing and modified positions it could be a good thing.
    good luck to you 
    keep us posted on your ptogress
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  • hvillshhvills Suzhou, ChinaPosts: 971

    Hey Yoga Girl...

    You need to understand that the portion of your L5-S1 disc that the doctor will be cutting away will NOT grow back... it will only scar over.  It's NOT like when you cut your finger.  This means that section of your spine will NEVER be 100% again... it will be permanently compromised for the rest of your life.  If you doctor only cuts away 10%-20% of your L5-S1 disc then the disc will only be minimally compromised... but if the disc is badly herniated and burst and your surgeon cuts away 70%-80% of the disc it will be significantly compromised and you will need to be VERY CAREFUL about stressing or jarring your back otherwise you will end up back on the surgeons table for fusion.  You certainly can still do yoga but you MUST be very careful about doing moves that might stress or jarr you back in any way.  It's very important that you talk to your doctor about this.

    Harry - 65 year old male...
    PLIF L4-L5-S1 due to disc degeneration... May 23, 2013
    PLIF L5-S1 due to failed fusion and broken screw... Jan 19, 2015
    Microdiscectomy, decompression L3-L4 due to herniated disc... Jan 19, 2015
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