It appears you have not yet Signed Up with our community. To Sign Up for free, please click here....



Back Problems Message Board
Post New Thread   Closed Thread
LinkBack Thread Tools
Old 04-16-2004, 12:22 PM   #1
Senior Member
(female)
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 137
sgc123 HB User
Question Working out after back surgery

I had a microdiscectomy on Feb. 16th. I have just been released to work out again. Is there a good book out there on exercises to do and not do for good back health? I have been going to PT and exercise there. I'm really looking for guidance on lifting weights and what type of cardio exercise to do other than walking. I don't want to reinjure myself, but I am ready to get back in shape. If anyone has advice I would appreciate hearing from you. Thanks.
Jill

 
Old 04-16-2004, 10:10 PM   #2
Senior Veteran
(female)
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Concord, CA, USA
Posts: 676
successtory HB User
Re: Working out after back surgery

Hi Jill,

Swimming is the best especially for cardio. Lifting weights is something you should just stop thinking about. It is foolish for us spineys to get into anything like that which puts so much weight and stress on each disk. Jazzersize/aerobics if you must, but weight lifting is a pure no-no. Kind of like horseback riding, riding rollercoasters, football, speed boats and most every other impact sport....no, no, no and no. What about the YES here? Swimming, Tai Chi, Chi Gong, extended walking, oh yes....and you can still use gentle weights for arm strength (only). I'm sure there are many other exercises that you will begin to like after you try them.
Good luck to you.

 
Sponsors Lightbulb
   
Old 04-17-2004, 04:31 PM   #3
Senior Veteran
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Sydney, NSW, Australia
Posts: 584
Brooke79 HB User
Re: Working out after back surgery

Dear Jill,

Hi, i am 24 and am 6 months post op from PLIF L5S1. My fusion has been deemed a failure and is due to be re-performed in around 6 weeks.

I am a gym instructor and personal trainer and am studying exercise science/rehab. I am passionate about my exercise but as successtory has mentioned, it has also become something i have had to forget about.....for now.

There are certain things you can do and things you really should not do. Weight lifting is definately something that should not be done, with studies showing fusion breakages with weight lifting. I know you've not had a fusion but any spinal surgery needs to be treated with the utmost caution especially when resuming exercise.

So many people told me to take it easy, and i did listen but im also very stubborn, i need to be active and i just hated seeing all the work id done go down the drain due to inactivity, but the bottom line is if you're not good to your spine for that recovery period you're likely to do further damage. You can always go back to exercising later on.

Believe me i was so fit and healthy before my surgery from my years in the gym and my surgeron was so positive i would have the fastest recovery, and partly because i went out and tried to do light exercise too early, i am due for another sugery.

All that now said, here's some tips for when you're ready and have the all clear. Swimming is definately the best because the effect of gravity is so heavily reduced when in water. There is little impact but you must maintain your posture in the water as it is easy to lose. That means tight tummies etc to protect your back. I would always suggest begginning with walking in waist deep water. This is easy so that you can maintain control over your posture (as you're only waist deep) but at the same time the water is providing resistance for your muscles in your back and legs. Dont push yourself to get your heart rate up or anything, just gently stroll through the water. Walk sideways through the water as well, and backwards. You can do this each day if you like. It wont burn fat or anything but atleast it will be providing activity for your muscles so that do not totally waste and weaken.

When you feel ready to advance further go into deep water jogging. This can provide a great workout, and you can get your heart rate up too. You must be ready though and strong enough to maintain your posture in the deep water. You'd have a floatee around your waist to keep you upright but it's still challenging and even fit people with no injury find this difficult. I'd stay in the water as long as you can and return to land based exercise only when a full recovery is made.

Hope this helps Jill,
I'm always around so give me a yell if i can further elaborate or suggest further for you.

Brooke

 
Old 04-18-2004, 02:35 AM   #4
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 27
tonyroma HB User
Re: Working out after back surgery

Thanks for the great advice Brooke.

What do you think of long distance running 3 - 13 miles runs (25-30 miles per week) for post PLIFers. I am planning to begin light jogging 9 months post op with my surgeons blessing. I will run on soft surfaces only (tracks, trails). Am I crazy?...Please say no.
Tony

 
Old 04-18-2004, 06:06 AM   #5
Senior Veteran
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Sydney, NSW, Australia
Posts: 584
Brooke79 HB User
Re: Working out after back surgery

Dear Ginger,

Hi, How you going?

Resistance bands are great and i have them at home. You can get an array of varying resistance too. While they do provide a great tool for resistance training it's not something you should be using now or any time soon unfortunately but i guess you know that anyway. When you're strong enough by all means, as long as you use them safely its great. You can be as creative as you want with them to provide a workout to all different parts of your body.

I wanted (and was vert tempted) to do some upper body work with resistance bands but its not a good idea because even though i felt like it was physically isolated from my back, its my back that provides the framework for support.

So you're about 2 months along now? How are you feeling?

Brooke

 
Old 04-18-2004, 06:14 AM   #6
Senior Veteran
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Sydney, NSW, Australia
Posts: 584
Brooke79 HB User
Re: Working out after back surgery

Hi Tony

I too share your dreams. I want to be running again post PLIF.

Running is something im iffy about. There's mountains of evidence against running and the wear and tear it has on healthy joints let alone our kinds of joints. Then on the other hand plenty of people run dont they? Whats more is many run professionally and surely those who live at the AIS (Australian Institute of Sport) have exercise scientists and biomechanists working with them all the time and they simply wouldnt run if it was that bad for them... i assume.

I've done and am continuing researching competeive sports or indeed any sports that are recommended for fusees. I know there have been reports of fractured fusions post PLIF with running. That said my surgeon said when i become solidly fused i will be able to treat my body as though there were never anything wrong with it originally. That means running, weights and horse riding for me (i hope). I'm not convinced and really dont know if i'd want to risk it.

I know for sure that what you've said about the softer surfaces is absolutely correct - less impact. Grass too. Im not sure about 9 months post op, perhaps. Everyone fuses at different rates, you may be 100% safe at 9 months.

I will continue to research this for both our sakes i think.lol

Brooke

 
Old 04-18-2004, 02:51 PM   #7
Senior Member
(female)
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 137
sgc123 HB User
Re: Working out after back surgery

Brooke and Successtory- thanks for the advice. I do understand the importance of taking it easy and giving my body time to recover; however, I am doing weight lifting at PT already. I am doing leg presses, pulldowns, leg extensions, rows, bicep curls with weights, etc. Why would they have me doing these if I am not supposed to be lifting weights at all? I haven't felt any ill effects from this. In fact, I feel like it has made my back stronger. The PT told me that building up the muscles in the back and ab muscles will actually strengthen the back and make reinjury less likely. I'm so confused Are you guys just saying no weights for now or forever? I know that having back surgery has made my back inherently weaker than someone with a healthy back. I also understand the no horseback riding, contact sport thing, but is lifting light weights really that bad? I am not trying to be a powerlifter or anything.

I really appreciate your perspective as many of you have been down this road before and can give me advice based upon experience not textbooks. I see my dr. this week for a followup and I will be sure to ask him about this issue.
Jill

 
Old 04-18-2004, 02:55 PM   #8
Senior Member
(female)
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 137
sgc123 HB User
Re: Working out after back surgery

Tony- thanks for joining in. I've often wondered about the running thing, but I think it was a major contributor to my problem. I ran five miles each morning up until my injury. I have made up my mind not to do that again, but it is hard to be walking on the treadmill when everyone around you is running. lol

Brooke- your background in fitness is a great help to us fitness dummies Thanks.

Jill

 
Old 04-18-2004, 04:44 PM   #9
Inactive
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: California
Posts: 132
Racharina HB User
Re: Working out after back surgery

[b]Jill:[/b]

I agree with [b]Brooke[/b] and [b]successstory[/b], lifting weights ... mmmhhh I don't think so. I understand you are already doing it and you seem not to be having the negative impact. I guess I should say to that, everybody is different. We should listen to our bodies and see what it takes while recovering. The rule of thumb is [i]"if it hurts don't do it"[/i].. Again, if I were you, I would be very careful not to hurt my back again. Lifting weights can put a [i]LOT[/i] stress in our so beloved discs. Be careful.

Again, I am one of those people that can't lift weights (post/op), I tried and didn't work out. I was in extremely pain right after. I can do the arms but really light. I would love to lift weight with my legs, you know, that machine that is in the gym that you sit and then lift it with you legs?.. those would really shape your upper legs!!

Like [b]successtory[/b] says, swimming is the best. I have been doing that after 6 weeks post/op. That helped a lot with my heart and muscles that were atrophied. I think swimming will keep you lean and your heart healthy, but unfortunately won't give you that muscle pump that weights does ....I know, I am disappointed myself.

[b]Brooke[/b] explained really well how to start swimming. I did the same thing at the beginning, soon enough I was swimming back and forth the lap pool for a whole 45 minutes to an hour. After 6 months started water aerobics.

Unfortunately, after 9 months post/op pain for me is still there. Right buttock gets bad. Exercising really help, but not to the point to get rid of pain . I kind of reached a plateau a couple of months ago. I wonder is i will heal fully by now. My NS says I am fine and I just have to give it time, but he has not seeing an MRI after my operation, so how can he know? I convinced him of another MRI, so we will do it on the 22.

OK, going back to exercises, this is what I do:
Swimming 3 to 4 times a week
treadmill and outdoor walks (45 minutes)
Abdominal almost everyday. Not as good as I would like it to do
Lift wights every now and then for my arms and shoulders (5 to 8 pounds max)

I started doing my salsa/merenge work out and set me back, had to stop
Jogging is a killer for me, just the thought makes my back chill

I don't know if stretch bands are good for people with back surgery.

[b]Remember The rule of thumb:[/b] [i]"if it hurts don't do it"[/i]

-R

P.S. Oh I forgot, try to have a healthy diet... this is the time you can put on weight easily

Last edited by Racharina; 04-18-2004 at 04:46 PM.

 
Old 04-18-2004, 05:48 PM   #10
Senior Veteran
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Sydney, NSW, Australia
Posts: 584
Brooke79 HB User
Re: Working out after back surgery

Hi Everyone,

No worried at all, i am glad that i can be of some assistance to people as they have been to me.

Just a few things i wanted to mention.

The first is that treadmill exercise is really not advisable, especially for those recovering from spinal surgery, but really for anyone. When you walk on a treadmill, you actually are using muscles neccessary to move your legs forward one after the other - to keep you moving on the spot. When you walk in the street you are using different muscles because you are actually propelling yourself along the footpath rather than just walking on the spot. So can you see how when you walk on a treadmill you will strengthen muscles is places of the hips and legs where they really arnt needed and may experience atrophy in the crucial places? -those muscles that are needed for normal everyday walking. Where possible it is so much more advisable to walk outdoors, i even used to just walk around and around my house if it was raining outside, rather than get on a treadmill.

Jill it is so bizarre that you are lifting weights when you had your surgery in mid feb. That said you have had only a microdisectomy and not a fusion and couple that with Racharina's thoughts on how we all heal so differently and it may be possible that you are lifting already. You know how you feel and im sure the specialists you are working with know what they are doing. All surgeons and specialists have so many different opinions and techniques when it comes to rehab, my surgeon didnt want me to do anything but rest - he wanted to get over the major obsticle of the fusion site solidifying first. I could walk on land and in a pool but that was it.
I guess the one thing i would advise if you are lifting light weights is that you just be really mindful of your posture. Even doing a bicep curl can interfere with your spine if your posture is not correct. Ensure absolutely no movement through the trunk and perhaps you will not experience any issues.

If weights did become an issue you know you can do some resistance work in the pool with foam dumbells? Again you have the added benefit of the non-weight bearing environment.

Best of luck to you all

Brooke

 
Old 04-20-2004, 04:25 PM   #11
Senior Member
(female)
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 137
sgc123 HB User
Re: Working out after back surgery

Thanks Racharina for jumping in with your opinion. Your work-out breakdown was very helpful to me. I am sorry that you are still in pain even after some time. I thankfully am painfree, but that it kind of dangerous because I can overdo it very easily.

I spoke to my dr. today (I had a follow-up appointment). He gave me very specific things not to do ever. He said that weight-lifting is okay as long as it is light weight, no weight over the shoulders ever, and no leaning over with weights ever. He also recommended not returning to play volleyball or any other possible contact sport because the risk of re-injury is high. He also said no mountain biking, running, jogging, or bouncing on a trampoline.

It is pretty depressing to be limited in this way. But I am out of pain and I certainly do not want to reinjure myself. I knew that I was going to have to give some things up because I was fairly active before injury. Dr. also said that it takes about a year to fully heal inside. I didn't think it took quite that long, but it is nice to know.

I appreciate all the input from everyone. Each person is different and each drs. recommendations are different. Even the research studies are controversial. I am going to take it easy for several more months except for walking or swimming and definitely pay attention to my body (and posture )
Thanks.
Jill

 
Old 04-20-2004, 04:33 PM   #12
Senior Member
(female)
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 137
sgc123 HB User
Re: Working out after back surgery

Brooke- I somehow missed your last post before I replied. Thanks for the additional advice. I also understand what you are saying about the treadmill. Unfortunately, I live in northern Ohio which spends half the year with lousy outdoor weather. I have been walking outside lately since the weather has been nice. Great idea about the foam weights in the pool! I will have to try that. The therapist asked for four more weeks of therapy. Dr. approved it today. That will be ten weeks total so hopefully I will be more knowledgeable before I try to workout on my own.

Brooke- being a personal trainer- would it be beneficial for me to work with a trainer my first few sessions back in the gym. No offense intended- Do all personal trainers have some knowledge about back issues so I could trust their judgment? I know that you must learn anatomy and all that, but would a personal trainer be able to spot any exercises I shouldn't be doing or give me different ways to work the same muscles by doing acceptable exercises? I hope that wasn't a totally stupid question. I don't doubt that trainers are very knowledgeable with the general public, but I didn't know how much backgound with things such as back problems. Thanks.

Jill

 
Old 04-20-2004, 04:34 PM   #13
Inactive
(female)
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 2,139
injured betty HB User
Re: Working out after back surgery

There is a woman on our public television station that does exercises while sitting in a chair. She uses the bands. They are great. She does exercises or stretches that does not put any weight on the back. Then after her is a woman who does Yoga for all levels. As the hamstrings are a really important part of the body that needs to be worked for the lower back, she uses the bands so that no pressure is put on the back. I love the bands.

I don't get the treadmill controversy, but am going to walk into the other room and see if it feels any different. I love walking out doors, especially on a track. I use the treadmill for the incline so that I can work those calves

 
Old 04-20-2004, 04:40 PM   #14
Senior Member
(female)
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 137
sgc123 HB User
Re: Working out after back surgery

Moonlight- I have heard great things about the resistance bands. I am not so sure about Yoga though. Most of those positions would be very difficult for me right now considering I am not allowed to bend at all. Yoga would be okay later on, but I would definitely choose a certified, knowledgeable instructor with lots of experience. And of couse pay attention to your body and don't just push though. (That is something that I am very guilty of doing- stubborn)

I haven't been doing any incline yet on the treadmill. I asked the PT the other day and she said that it was much too soon to use the incline feature because it puts stress on the lower back muscles for balance and for force. My calves are still pretty weak so I applaud you.
Jill

 
Old 04-20-2004, 04:47 PM   #15
Inactive
(female)
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 2,139
injured betty HB User
Re: Working out after back surgery

[QUOTE=sgc123]Moonlight- I have heard great things about the resistance bands. I am not so sure about Yoga though. Most of those positions would be very difficult for me right now considering I am not allowed to bend at all. Yoga would be okay later on, but I would definitely choose a certified, knowledgeable instructor with lots of experience. And of couse pay attention to your body and don't just push though. (That is something that I am very guilty of doing- stubborn)

I haven't been doing any incline yet on the treadmill. I asked the PT the other day and she said that it was much too soon to use the incline feature because it puts stress on the lower back muscles for balance and for force. My calves are still pretty weak so I applaud you.
Jill[/QUOTE]


I have been doing Yoga for a few years now and working out with the chair lady as well. My friend is a Yoga instructor so I have that covered.

Luckily I have not had surgery. I am a candidate, but have not decided to do it yet. I am going the natural way first. So far it is working for me but I don't have major damage.

As for the treadmill, I do this as my calves and hamstrings are really tight. I think that is past of my back problem. I have been doing level 12 incline, four miles a day on the treadmill for a long time but still tight hamstrings and calves. This is why I use the bands, gentle resistance.

My doctor told me that exercise after surgery is tricky. You have to keep moving to stay limber but you can't overdo it. What I love is that the chisr lady uses bands on her legs while in the chair and then arm weights while sitting. I had never given much thought to my neck or shoulders before watching her. She does a lot of foot exercises, neck exercises, and face exercises. They are great!



 
Closed Thread

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Board Replies Last Post
Sciatica pain starting 3 weeks after discectomy... Chazz Back Problems 12 07-07-2013 12:25 PM
SCIATICA sharper after l4/l5 discectomy Chazz Back Problems 3 03-08-2011 01:01 AM
still in pain/meds not working any longer deisinger Pain Management 9 05-26-2010 10:56 AM
conservative treatment not working for c5-c6 hernation w/ myelopathy binx Spinal Cord Disorders 11 09-24-2009 12:57 PM
Herniated L4 & L5-ESI shots not working - Now What? RockofAges Hernia 8 05-13-2009 03:18 PM




Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is Off
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off




Join Our Newsletter

Stay healthy through tips curated by our health experts.

Whoops,

There was a problem adding your email Try again

Thank You

Your email has been added




Top 10 Drugs Discussed on this Board.
(Go to DrugTalk.com for complete list)
Ibuprofen
Lyrica
Morphine
Neurontin
Oxycontin
  Percocet
Soma Tylenol
Valium
Vicodin




TOP THANKED CONTRIBUTORS



teteri66 (1107), gmak (127), SweetPeainSF (78), maltluver (71), twohands (64), pebblebeach3 (63), cheryl1213 (51), Moldova (46), ibake&pray (41), workinmom572 (40)

Site Wide Totals

teteri66 (1164), MSJayhawk (997), Apollo123 (896), Titchou (832), janewhite1 (823), Gabriel (757), ladybud (745), sammy64 (666), midwest1 (665), BlueSkies14 (610)



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 08:58 PM.



Site owned and operated by HealthBoards.comô
Terms of Use © 1998-2014 HealthBoards.comô All rights reserved.
Do not copy or redistribute in any form!