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Recovery time from lower back fusion surgery

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Recovery time from lower back fusion surgery

Old 08-22-17, 03:41 PM
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Recovery time from lower back fusion surgery

I am 67. I had my L-4 and L-5 discs fused 6 1/2 weeks ago. I just started physical therapy last week. So far everything is fine. I'm still told not to bend over or twist for several weeks and to wear the back brace most of the time.

Anyone have this, or similar, surgery? If so, what was your recovery time? How long before I can use the stationary recumbent bike in the gym. How long before my first bike ride? How long before I can ride for a half hour or more in relative comfort.

Thanks, Lee
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Old 08-22-17, 05:59 PM
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My physical therapy started immediately (L4-L5 fusion). I walked miles and miles. I was on the mtn bike in 18 days post surgery, and on the road bike in a few weeks. I was 70 years old. That was about 9 years ago. So far, so good. I stretch regularly.

Last edited by gobicycling; 08-22-17 at 06:03 PM.
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Old 08-22-17, 08:31 PM
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Don't worry about it. Every surgery is different because the detail of damage done is different. Just push at least as hard as your physical therapist recommends. BUT:

Not before your doctor gives you clearance to exercise and you are assured the fusion is well along. Now is not the time to do anything to hinder that fusion. After you have clearance go for the moon. My experience is that physical therapists are way too cautious and have way to low goals. They are ok for initial help. But, if you want to actually get good function at some point you will need to leave them in the dust.

For me it was abut six weeks before I was back on the bike. Even then and now I have difficulty mounting and dismounting. But, this past weekend I was with a female who is 30 years younger and had a similar surgery. She was back in full swing in a couple weeks. Younger, different damage, etc. Others I have met have continuing pain and activity restrictions. I have none of either. Just a bit more to hopefully persuade you to be patient.
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Old 08-23-17, 12:03 AM
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Recumbent stepper machine

Thanks gang. After my post I went to PT and among other things they started me on a recumbent stepper for 5 minutes. Felt good to actually make some progress. I plan to continue slowly. I think my biggest concern is having a crash before being completely healed. So I'll listen to the PTs for the next 2-3 weeks.
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Old 08-25-17, 09:41 AM
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Four years ago I broke my neck and had C1 & C2 fused. My take away is this: do exactly what your doctor tells you to do and don't try to judge your recovery time by anyone else. FWIW, my accident happened on July 24, 2013 and I was on the rail-trails in November. But, that's me.
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Old 08-25-17, 10:12 AM
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When I was doing audio/video at Cleveland Clinic seminars, a doctor showed a photo of a patient out bear hunting a week after back surgery.
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