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Old 08-01-2008, 02:42 PM   #1
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Stationary bike 3 weeks post op? Laminectomy

So I had my eval for PT on Tuesday and today was my first day. I get there and they tell me to ride the stationary bike for 10 minutes at Level 4 to warm up my muscles.

UMMMMM ok I can hardly sit but I'll give it a shot. She puts me at level 4 and I can't even turn the pedal over. I insist on level 1. I am only able to ride for 6 minutes with back pain the entire time. I mean I was going REALLY slow. I could hardly turn the pedal. Is this normal for PT??

I also have to do a pelvic tilt, hand to knee exercise on my back, and tilt my back up and down on my hands and knees.

Is it me or is this a little too much for 3 weeks post op? I can't even get up without rolling over still and my back is very stiff and sore. Is this going to make it better though it hurts while I'm doing it?

 
Old 08-01-2008, 06:00 PM   #2
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Re: Stationary bike 3 weeks post op? Laminectomy

Holy Cow! I'd check into maybe getting a new PT &/or check in with your neurosurgeon on this. I didn't even get my prescription for post-op PT until my 6 week appt, started a week later and now, at 10 & 1/2 weeks post-op, was told the stationary bike is a no-no (I asked if I could try it at my last appt, yesterday). I started with pool therapy and my warm up was walking in the pool --most of my therapy being walking in the pool (in different ways), too. I only started a different warm-up this week, the recumbent cross-trainer (like an elliptical)---super slow, about 1/3 of what I was able to do pre-op in PT (and I was slow in pre-op). I asked to use the treadmill to warm up before getting in the pool yesterday, b/c my back was hurting and I didn't want to sit even on the recumbent machine.
I do have some "land" exercises given to me to do daily at home, but just 4 of them, all done on my back -including a hand-to-knee one where I gently press my hand to my knee and my knee to my hand (very gently) --another is knees "to chest" (not really to my chest, just up a little, but that's what she calls the exercise). I didn't start those until my 2nd week of PT, though (so about 8&1/2 wks post-op, much later than your 3 weeks). And, I don't do pelvic tilts 'cept when standing in the water (that is one of my pool exercises). The 'cat stretch' of tilting your back up and down while on your hands & knees --whoa, baby, that sounds like too much to me, too. I wouldn't want to do that even now, almost 11 weeks out.
My PT consists of warming up 10 minutes (first it was in the pool, now it's out, but no bike), then (30-40 minutes) in the pool walking corner to corner w/ a normal gait, then walking side to side (sideways), then resting with a funoodle in a 'chair' position (in the water, of course) and practicing pelvic tilts there, then a little walking again, then a standing-slight squat exercise where I hold plastic 'wings' spread wide then pull them in (under the water) to my chest for 10-20 reps, then exercises on the pool steps -1st is one leg on the bottom of the pool & the other on the 2nd (from bottom) step and gently leaning in to the step to stretch (bent knee) w/ my back straight, 2nd is one leg on the bottom of the pool & the other on the 3rd (from bottom) step -straight-legged rather than bent- stretching (I hate that one, in particular --am very tight, apparently). Then, I get out, dry off and head to my 10minute deep heat ultrasound on my back (to keep scar tissue from forming -or break it up). So far, for 2 & 1/2 weeks, that's what I've been doing, with the only change being I warm up outside of the pool now and have that 2nd pool step exercise. We were going to add a little more yesterday, but I was in too much pain from having behaved stupidly the day prior and b/c of positioning in a recent medical test (urodynamic testing in a very uncomfortable birthing chair). My only other therapy is walking as much as I can at home and what housework I do --and sex (lol).
I could be way off in suggesting you get a new PT and maybe you are at some advanced level of recovery (or I am a remedial type in recovery, either or), but your PT does not sound like a good idea for 3 weeks out to me. At 3 weeks, I was only walking (and not like I do now) and practicing -carefully- squatting to retrieve things from low shelves (rather than use my reacher-grabber or ask for help). I would intentionally squat down and carefully come up a few to several times a day as my own home PT (-asked if it was okay to do first). That was it --although, I'd have L-O-V-E-D having a pool to walk in then, rather than the sidewalk or my back patio. Walking in the pool is soooo much nicer than walking on land (for recovery).
Can you do pool therapy at the facility you receive PT at now? I would definitely request a prescription to a PT faciltiy that has a pool -if you can. I'd wait a few weeks before starting PT, too, unless your NS says it really is okay. I'm just amazed that you're already in it and doing what you're doing. If you are actually cleared for all you're doing --you're a dynamo and I'm in awe. I'd definitely dig further to make sure you are really safe to do what is being asked of you, though. It sounds wrong to me, like too much too soon.
GOOD LUCK!
Meghan (the pool girl)

Last edited by Wymom94; 08-01-2008 at 06:12 PM.

 
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Old 08-01-2008, 06:06 PM   #3
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Re: Stationary bike 3 weeks post op? Laminectomy

P.S. kak251, I'm a 39 year old female and this was my first back surgery, also had neck surgery 5 & 1/2 weeks prior to my laminectomy. My PT is all about my back right now, though. I had PT at the same facility pre-op and was never in the pool before, was told at my post-op eval (or 're' eval) that the pool was where I should be at that stage post-op for my back, that I 'wasn't ready' for something more (yet). That's just some background info, in case you are far from or close in age to me w/ similar or disparate history.
-Meghan

 
Old 08-01-2008, 06:30 PM   #4
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Re: Stationary bike 3 weeks post op? Laminectomy

I would definitely look into another PT. That sounds ridiculous. Also, you should only do what you feel are physically able to do and won't cause you more pain. The last thing you need is to worry about injuring yourself again. PT should be something that helps you, not puts more strain on you. Obviously, you want to challenge yourself to a point, but it has to be realistic to your condition.

I would report this PT to your surgeon's office and get a recommendation for another PT that will work with you at a more realistic pace.

Sending positive thoughts your way.

~ Fiona
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Last edited by Mod08; 08-02-2008 at 05:39 AM. Reason: Be careful of bolding alot of text - it has been removed. It can appear to others that you are yelling.

 
Old 08-01-2008, 09:04 PM   #5
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Wink Re: Stationary bike 3 weeks post op? Laminectomy

Absolutly look for a different P/T...you should not be bending at your waist, meaning no getting on all 4's! Also, I was told to not use a bike at all, until I began to fuse, and then was told to use a recumberant (sp?) type of bike only. Remember, absolutly no bending, twisting, leaning, lifting until you are fused! Please tell your Dr. about this and ask his/her advice, but I am floored that anyone would have you do this type of excercise. You could break any fusion that is beginning.

Lorie
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Old 08-02-2008, 08:05 AM   #6
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Re: Stationary bike 3 weeks post op? Laminectomy

THis was my first surgery, no back issue before injury in December. I am 36.

I think I will call my primary care on Monday. I don't really like my surgeon now and kind of feel brushed off since he got the surgery done with. My post op appt. was at 8 days when I had alot of pain still. I have no follow up. He just said start PT in a week.

I am going to see if I should wait until 6 weeks or so to start again and with a different PT. I have pretty good mobility (can squat down to pick something up) but I still have alot of leg pain and back pain. I felt so stupid on that bike trying to pedal and felt like everyone was watching me. He asked me if it hurt and I said I came in at a 6 for pain and now I am an 8. I thought he would just do stims or ice at that point but no it's off to exercises.

I'm really sore today but hopefully I did no real damage. I felt like I was popping my back on the bike even though it was a recumbant one.

THanks for the advice and help, I really have no idea what it normal and expected. I'm the type of person who if you tell me to do it I will complete it even if it hurts. I'm glad my gut was right on this one though because I really didn't want to go back and do that again.

My surgeon made out my post op report like it's a text book issue. Do PT for 6 weeks and can return to work though he did tell me I will have to be in a different capacity. At my job that's not possible so I guess I probably won't be returning to work either.

 
Old 08-02-2008, 09:58 AM   #7
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Wink Re: Stationary bike 3 weeks post op? Laminectomy

Can I ask what level you had your laminectomy? I had mine at the lumbar area and I was told never to squat. It sounds like your surgeon did not give you any post op instructions and I am sorry about that.

My suggestion is that if after you go to your Primary Care Dr., if he suggests anything that is causing pain, that you find an ortho., neuro., or pain management Dr. who specialize in spines. I say this because often PC Drs. do not have the experience to know what you should or should not do after a specialized surgery. They will know the basics of resting and not over doing it, but they may not have info. that is specific to laminectomy surgery.

I began seeing a Pain Management Dr. after my surgery and it was the best thing that I ever did. They have all the insight and knowledge about many different treatments to heal your body and lessen your pain.

I wish you the very best luck and do not give up trying to find someone who understands your situation and is willing to work along side of you. That is what you need and deserve. Always feel comfotable comming to the boards for insight and information. There is a wealth of wisdom from everyone here and people love to share their experiences and to help others.

Lorie
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Old 08-02-2008, 10:07 AM   #8
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Re: Stationary bike 3 weeks post op? Laminectomy

I had it at the L3-L4 level. My pain is much lower but it doesn't hurt to squat down. Getting back up is another story. I have gotten stuck in that position as when I rise my back sort of kinks up. I guess sometimes I feel really good and can't stand being ,for lack of a better word , "handicapped" by my back.

My primary is good and although he iesn't a specialist he always point me in the driection of one who will help me. I got the surgeon from my orthopedic dr not primary. My ortho dr was great too. It's funny because my primary doesn't really like my neuros bedside manner and I can see why now.

I am so glad I found this board. After my fun day at PT yesterday my back is really stiff and more sore than the past week.

 
Old 08-02-2008, 10:25 AM   #9
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Wink Re: Stationary bike 3 weeks post op? Laminectomy

That is about where I had mine at. I had the L3-5 done, in 2 different surgeries. The reason for not squating, is because when you get up, you bend at your waist and that is what you are not suppose to do. I was told to get a "picker upper" which is a hand held device that picks things up for you. (I also use my toes a lot ). Don't think of it as being "disabled" but that you are recovering from a surgery. Just tell yourself that you are following the limitations for now, so that you don't end up being disabled.

I am glad that you have a good PC doctor, and when he sends you to the specialist for specific problems, that is what I was talking about. They are good at what they do, which is primary or basic care. But then they often send you to a person who specializes in what you need. When you talk to him, ask him for a referal to a spine specialist. If your Ortho. or your Neuro. are spine specialist...go back to them deffinately. That is usually how it works...your surgeon is there for the surgery and after that you see a person to take care of your spine. Granted, your surgeon dismissed you too early, but you are doing the right thing by looking for suggestions of what to do and what to expect. I remember the last time I saw my surgeon, (and I loved mine and would go back to him if I needed surgery), but I remember him asking me why I was there to see him...since there were no other surgeries that I needed. He said it is a nice way and was willing to see me, but it made me realize that he was right, he was a surgeon and the surgery part was over. That was when he refered me to a pain specialist.

You'll be just fine, I am sure of it.

Lorie
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Last edited by lfoster21; 08-02-2008 at 10:38 AM.

 
Old 08-02-2008, 01:53 PM   #10
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Re: Stationary bike 3 weeks post op? Laminectomy

Hi. Am 5 1/2 weeks post 2 level fusion and although I am restricted from any kind of bending or twisting I have been told that if my legs are strong enough to allow a squat (and my knees can take it) there is no reason I can't. You can squat with your back absolutely straight. I am in a full body clamshell brace that prevents me from any kind of bending but I can do squats in it. Even demonstrated it to my home nurse (who works only for my surgeon) and I was cleared for it. However, make sure when you do it, that you really do keep your back straight.

Course, I also have a grabber but sometimes there is something that's not quite flat on the ground and I hate to go to the other end of the house for the grabber (I have two, kept at opposite ends of the house, but I was in the middle of the house. Can't win.)

And I did have a lamectomy 25 years ago that was very successful, and so can tell you...FIND ANOTHER PT. That is a ridiculous amount of hard work in bad positions way too soon after surgery. Before you change doctors speak to yours first and let them know what kind of exercises the PT was giving you. If he thinks it was fine, run, don't walk, and find another doctor.

Last edited by paula456; 08-02-2008 at 01:55 PM.

 
Old 08-02-2008, 02:35 PM   #11
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Re: Stationary bike 3 weeks post op? Laminectomy

I appreciate everyone sharing their stories. I am SO glad that it wasn't what was expected of me at this point.

Does the pain everyone else is experiencing feel like what your back felt lke before your surgery just worse? I wonder if he made me rerupture my disc. What does everyone elses pain feel like after surgery? I guess I want to know that it should feel the same only worse but that it goes away as I heal.

THanks for helping me out and I wish speedy recoveries to all those in pain.

 
Old 08-02-2008, 03:31 PM   #12
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Re: Stationary bike 3 weeks post op? Laminectomy

[QUOTE=kak251;3673363]
I think I will call my primary care on Monday. I don't really like my surgeon now and kind of feel brushed off since he got the surgery done with. My post op appt. was at 8 days when I had alot of pain still. I have no follow up. He just said start PT in a week.

[/QUOTE]
I'm sorry you're getting that treatment from your surgeon, I found that a good surgeon doesn't consider ANYTHING textbook. I'm [B]not[/B] implying your surgeon isn't skilled, but it doesn't sound like his follow-up is too great. [B]He should be concerned with any levels of pain your experiencing and I would definitely follow-up with your primary on the pain levels your experiencing,[/B] the lack of follow-up, and your treatment at PT. I would see what your Primary recommends at this point. [B]But, really your surgeon should be made aware of any post-surgical issues. [/B]

Of course in many cases everything is textbook and that can still be the case with you, but I really think you need to the right PT to be your needs and to ensure the PT matches your spine's need as you heal. I really think that is key. But, you should still feel you should be able to communicate any issues to your surgeon Post-op.

[B]Just keep asserting your needs and you will get the attention you deserve.
[/B]
You're in my thoughts.

Fiona
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Old 08-02-2008, 04:18 PM   #13
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Re: Stationary bike 3 weeks post op? Laminectomy

The level of pain you're experiencing after a laminectomy is not necessarily the norm, and should be reported to your surgeon. Now everything is probably all right, but any pain that is not directly related to the surgical and incision should be reported. In my opinion, I agree with the last poster. I know it's easier to talk to your primary care physician, but your post-op care should be handled by your surgeon. That's what he/she has been paid for.

I do hope you're doing well, and stay off those bikes. LOL

 
Old 08-02-2008, 04:38 PM   #14
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Re: Stationary bike 3 weeks post op? Laminectomy

I'll call my surgeon and see what he thinks. I guess I expected to feel way better than I do now and not have any more leg pain. I can't even sneeze correctly because I did it once and it killed, now my body fears it and makes me do a half sneeze lol.

Paula- I'll try to stay off the bikes lol.

 
Old 08-02-2008, 06:50 PM   #15
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Re: Stationary bike 3 weeks post op? Laminectomy

I would defintely call your surgeon and inform him (or his staff) specifically of the leg pain you're still experiencing. I have always had nerve related pain PRE-Surgery, but that is the one thing that always cleared up immediately POST-surgery. I know we are all different and heal different ( heck, I could be the exception). I definitely experience back pain at the surgical sight and spasms at the surgical sight, but I have found in my experience the nerve stuff cleared up immediately. I was actually amazed at how quickly the nerve stuff improved in my leg.

Again, I don't want to scare you, because we're all different and heal differently. However, this is something that is worth bringing to your surgeon's attention. Also, you need a PT that will work GENTLY and realistically with you.

Keep us posted on what you find out, this is a wonderfully supportive group that is always here for you.

~ Fiona
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