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Old 02-19-11, 07:54 PM   #1
larry h
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Lumbar Fusion Update - Need more advice

Had surgery on 2/14/11, ran into problems rather than minimally invasive,,,had to resort to two 3" cuts, two rods plus a cage. I really want to bike again and I am trying to walk one mile per day starting on day five. I am still having a tough time finding ease from pain. Would like input on how long it took some of you to recovery. And any advice on tips you may have found to ease the pain.
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Old 02-19-11, 08:46 PM   #2
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take it slow

I had a bi-level fusion involving L3, L4, and L5 in April of 2005. Attempting to walk a mile on day 5 is pushing way to hard. Walking 1/4 mile the first two weeks should be considered phenominal and then work your way up slowly from that point. Pushing to hard to quickly on fused vertebrae can cause you much bigger problems than you started with. It took me four weeks to get to a mile but I kept increasing by 100 to 200+ yards a day after that until I was able to walk 3 miles non-stop at a brisk pace. That was about ten weeks post op at which time I was able to get back on my first love of motorcycles. I started golfing again two years ago and cycling again just a year ago. I probably should have started the cycling again long before I started the other two sports. Bottom line is don't try to go to far or to fast for the first few weeks. Your body will heal but you have to give the fusion time to grow before stressing it to much. Also if you feel tired or weak, stop, rest and gently stretch (very gently); the "no pain no gain" deal is not a good motto when recovering from a back fusion.
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Old 02-19-11, 11:25 PM   #3
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As a nurse I have seen many back surgery patients. Remember that it takes a full year to completely recover from back surgery. There is no reason you can not bike again, but not for a little while. Take it slow at first. You should be able to do gentle biking within a couple months. The back will heal and you will be glad you did it. Most people who have back surgery kick themselves for doing it up until about the third month post op. Then they start to see that they did the right thing. By a year, they are thrilled with the results and most have few problems. 5 days post op is too soon to be feeling sorry. Hang in there! It will come! In the mean time, I will give you a hug ((((larry h)))))
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Old 02-20-11, 07:55 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by outwest5 View Post
As a nurse I have seen many back surgery patients. Remember that it takes a full year to completely recover from back surgery. There is no reason you can not bike again, but not for a little while. Take it slow at first. You should be able to do gentle biking within a couple months. The back will heal and you will be glad you did it. Most people who have back surgery kick themselves for doing it up until about the third month post op. Then they start to see that they did the right thing. By a year, they are thrilled with the results and most have few problems. 5 days post op is too soon to be feeling sorry. Hang in there! It will come! In the mean time, I will give you a hug ((((larry h)))))

THANKS for the the encouraging words. My surgeon is rated one of the top in this field and is very avid on pushing to your physical limit. The wife and I bike 3000 miles a year and hike countless miles. He felt a mile of slow walking in five days was very do able as long as I knew my limits. I hope to be at three miles a days at the 14 day check-up. I already miss my bike.
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Old 02-21-11, 12:20 AM   #5
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Everyone is different and no two surgeries are the same. It stands to reason that recovery can vary greatly in each case. If I were you I would let my body tell me how hard to push the envelope. Good luck.
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Old 02-21-11, 06:38 PM   #6
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THANKS for the the encouraging words. My surgeon is rated one of the top in this field and is very avid on pushing to your physical limit. The wife and I bike 3000 miles a year and hike countless miles. He felt a mile of slow walking in five days was very do able as long as I knew my limits. I hope to be at three miles a days at the 14 day check-up. I already miss my bike.
That sounds like a very aggressive approach to me and I used to teach back rehab in a pain rehabilitation center. Of course we were dealing with the worst of the worst cases too. As for myself, I have two 9" scars that required 52 staples that may have had something to do with the length of my recovery process. (the longer the scars, the longer the recovery?)

And as Phil85207 says,

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Everyone is different and no two surgeries are the same. It stands to reason that recovery can vary greatly in each case. If I were you I would let my body tell me how hard to push the envelope. Good luck.
I whole-heartedly agree with that part about letting your body dictate how hard to push. Me; I was a wimp and took much longer to reach a half mile than your surgeon is recommending. good luck and be careful.
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