I’d be very interested to hear the therapy routines of others… things that are working… things that were mistakes.
I do laps in the house. 45’ x 26 laps, about 4 – 6 times throughout the day with rest between. That’s my 1.5 miles. I just started stair-stepping (up and down one flight), walking about 15’ at the top and bottom before I start another. I am doing 8 straight up/down in one session. Today I did 4 sessions, followed about a half hour to an hour later with a walking session.
I cut back yesterday. Was doing my morning set of laps (52), and though I felt “strong”, I think that by the end of the day it was too much. Today I had my best day, but still need pain meds at night.
Also, I mix in vacuuming every other day (hardwood floors, so not too much pushing effort.) I go to the store about once a week, and count that walking time.
I’m 9 weeks out. Anterior Interbody Lumbar Fusion, no bone… just cages screwed with that growth stuff to make the bones fuse.
Final note: I have cut back twice so far. It’s a little insidious. My cut-backs are decided upon pain-levels, and by how strong I feel while walking. By the evening, if I’m feeling wobbly and weak I figure I’m doing too much. Each time I have cut back, I have not regretted it, and find that I am soon doing more than before as I tend to try and up things every other day or so. I started with maybe 10 laps with an hour between. Pain levels are somewhat lower, but not significantly. I am, however, doing much more than say 4 weeks ago, and it is easier to get out of bed these past few days.
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Please be very careful of walking up and down the steps and vacumming. It pulls big time on your back muscles and honestly I have had 5 spinal surgeries and I have learned -- don't rush your recovery and overdo. By overdoing, you are simply creating more scar tissue (adhesions) and causing more problems down the road. I don't want you to hurt yourself by rushing your recovery. The spine is a funny thing and needs time to heal so the fusion can set up. You need to look at this surgery as an investment in your future. Listen to pain -- pain means you are pushing to hard. Wobbly and weakness means you are pushing to hard. You have just been thru MAJOR surgery. Don't mean to lecture or appear to be a know it all; I have been thru alot and made alot of mistakes. Lets just say hindsight is 20/20 and boy do I wish I could redo pushing so hard. I don't think I would have been in the place I am now had I of taken it easier and not pushed so darn hard during recovery from my previous surgeries.
Right now I am 3 weeks out on my 5th surgery. Here is my typical schedule but bear in mind that what is right for me may not be right for you. It all depends on the complexity of your case and the best place for advice is your doctor because he knows the particulars of your case.
Wake up, take pain meds with light breakfast, lie down for one hour, get up and shower, lie back down for one hour, get up take 200 ft walk, lie back down until 12:00, eat lunch in hospital bed, check emails on laptop, watch TV, take anther nap, play a game with the kiddo's, watch movies, or get on computer, lie down and sleep, wake up and take a second 200 ft walk, take a nap, eat dinner at dinner table (no more than 15 min sitting), watch tv, interact with family, watch TV, and then to bed. So you can see I am doing very little except walking, showering, watching TV, and sleeping. I am allowed one trip up the stairs per day and one 15 min sitting session.
I have been told that this is to be my schedule until 9 weeks. At nine weeks, I may increase my walking and begin sitting for 15 min increments no more than 30 minutes a day. At 12 weeks, I may begin sitting more. I have been told no cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc until 12 weeks and then we will revisit. Again my circumstances are different than the typical individual.
In the past, I was allowed to begin driving at 6 weeks, sitting at 3 weeks no more than 20 min at a time, and unlimited walking. Around surgery 3, I was told 12 weeks, I could begin cooking, cleaning, driving, etc.
I am telling this so you can see the variance depends upon the individual circumstances.
My biggest advice is listen to your dr, do not bend, twist, and lift. Doing so will interfere with the fusion process and if you do not fuse, you are setting yourself up for a slew of problems. Honestly concentrate on healing and give yourself 9 to 12 weeks before you begin cleaning/cooking if you can. It allows things to heal but do as much walking as you can. Walking is good for your back and allows the blood to get circulating. As far as mopping the floor, vaccuming, and raking leaves I would really give it up for 6 months to a year. These are very hard on the back since alot of bending and twisting is required.
Thanks! This exactly what I am looking for! After my 6-week checkup, my doc told me, stair-stepping was "good". Walking was "good". Swimming was "good" (No access to pool)
Twisting, bending over, lifting was "bad.
Only in the last week have I been able to carefully lean forward just enough to spit in the sink after brushing my teeth... so you can see I am being careful.
Thanks so much for the feedback, 123. Frankly I have been in so much pain since the surgery, it's been hard to tell if I have been over doing or not. When I inquired at the 6-week point, my nurse asked if I was active enough. I actually wasn't at that time because I had a really awkward brace which extended down my thigh and for 3-weeks had to remain locked while walking. I've been out of that now for 3 weeks.
I have also been unable to lie down without seriously locking up with serious pain, so I have more or less adopted the view that I have to walk my way out of this! <smile> That's one of the reasons I'd like to see what others do during the day/evening.
I will take you advice to great heart, 123. And thanks again for taking the time to help me out!
Also, 123, there is a Scar Tissue Thread over here somewhere, and I have some questions about how this all works and whether or not it applies to me, and if so, how. Would you mind posting over there so I can get some answers from you? ***REMOVED***
Stevie, I did respond to the scar tissue and I hope my response helps you out. Just remember although I have been around the block with surgery that I don't have all the answers and I am simply a chronic back pain suffer who prays daily for RELIEF and clings to hope after a failed back syndrome diagnosis. Scar tissue definitely applies to spinal surgery because it is one of the main reasons for failed back syndrome. Scar tissue wraps around the nerves causing anchoring of the nerve and pain.
I find it very interesting about the stair stepping thing. My doc tells me to avoid it because it stretches the nerves and I have had so much nerve pain that he wants mine to relax. I am curious, have you had alot of sciatica pain? It just goes to show you each doctor has their own way of thinking and each case is different.
It is normal to have pain up to 6 months after surgery. The key is whether you are noticing improvement. Improvement no matter how small shoud give you hope. There are members on board who note continuing improvement after two years of surgery. Healing is very individual and spine surgery is one that takes a lonnnnnnnnng time. Just don't rush it.
Best of luck and may you continue to heal without any setbacks and your surgery provide you with much relief.
I was told the same thing about stair stepping, or any repetitive movement such as on a treadmill. You are better off walking, and walking on a non-moving, flat surface!!
You are doing much more than I was after my PLIF at L4-5. I was not able to walk very much at all until about 8 weeks. I took it VERY easy prior to then, When I wasn't on my way to the bathroom, I was mostly in bed...sometimes propped up reading or watching TV or working on my laptop. I tried to limit sitting, even though it didn't bother me at all to sit.
I began physical therapy around 15 weeks and that was when I started to drive on a regular basis. Prior to then, I drove as little as possible.
If you do start swimming, be careful as to which strokes you swim. You want to avoid any stroke on your stomach as that causes your spine to extend just like you're doing a mini backbend.
Just try to be patient. If you rush your recovery, you will probably end up paying for it, one way or another. Just keep in mind, that you want to give yourself the very best opportunity to recover from this surgery so you don't ever have to do it again. If it takes awhile to accomplish that, so be it!!
Just got off the phone with my RN. I was supposed to be walking up to 1.5 miles within the 1st 6-weeks. I did not do that because of my brace. I was told there was no limit on either walking or stair-stepping, but that my strength level and pain level should be the judge as to how much I do throughout the day. So far the above is working for me.
I have never been able to lie down for any length of time. I sit/stand/sit/stand/sit/stand/walk/stair-step... etc. Sometimes I can sit for 10 - 15 minutes, which is more than I used to be able to do. I'm sticking with my surgeon's instructions, because maybe my situation is different than others.
I'm very interested in what others do during their day, and how it works for them. So far, I'm not complaining and have not had what might be considered a "set back". I'm progressing every day, and checking in with my RN when I have questions.
I want to clarify that when I said the pool, I do not mean swimming or any strokes whatsoever. There is a lumbar belt you can purchase that will keep you upright in the deep end of the pool so that you can walk in the water. By your spine, legs, and hips being under water very little muscles are used. Hope this better explains what I mean't.
Walking is repetitive but you are not hitting the pavement with force. When walking up and down the steps you are jarring your back because one leg is on one step and the other is on another. One leg is taking the weight of your body and the other leg is being pulled up the steps. This is not the case with walking.