I just found this message board when I was googling about after having a spinal fusion.
I had a spinal fusion in December of 2009 (I'm a little over 7 weeks post-op). The fusion was done to correct a S-scoliosis curvature and relieve me of the back pain I was having. Before the fusion I ran for my universities cross country team, I ran through the pain and I would have good days and terrible days. I finally decided I couldn't live with it anymore and went to my doctor and said I'm ready. It was the scariest decision I have ever made but also I think one of the best.
Recovery had been going well the first few days in the hospital were miserable! And then the last few days I just wanted to get out of there! I was in the hospital for a week.
I have gone and seen my surgeon for my 1st 2 post opt visits and he is very pleased with how I am doing. He has okayed me to walk on the treadmill (since it is too icy outside to go outside and do a mile or more walk), as well as using the elliptical and recumbent bike. I started walking last week and it is going well, this week I am going to put the bike in the mix as well. It has been very difficult for me lately emotionally because I am back on campus and see all of my teammates running and I can't. I know with time I will be able to, one of my surgeons said if all things look well I can start running on soft surfaces (treadmill pretty much) within 3 or 4 months post opt.
Well I feel like I have made this long enough and I still haven't gotten to my point of this thread...
What I want to know is what have others experienced who were active before their surgery with getting back into their activity again? Also if you've gotten back to your activity, how long was it until you started doing it again? And how much of a fusion did you have?
In October of 2005,when i was 14, i had a spinal fusion surgery from t2 to l2. i had been a cheerleader my whole life, and wanted to resume cheering postop. it took several months but in april i was oked by my doctor to go back to cheering. in may i began tumbling again.
My name's Megan, and I ran xc and track in college as well. I have been out in the working world for 5 years now, and maintained a very fit lifestyle of running (a marathon last year) and lifting weights pretty hard-core (used to do lifting competitions). I am writing you because I am going in for a spinal fusion from T-5 down to L-3. I noticed that you posted your question in January, so I was wondering if you had any insight into flexibility, lifting, and running. I am concerned that I'll lose my muscles and fitness and that when I am able to finally run again, my body won't know how to run fast and I will never be able to work back up to fast, intense running. Also, in terms of abs and back workouts, I'm afraid I won't be able to rebuild my muscles around my spine or do sit ups. Do you have any insight into this? Sorry I wasn't able to provide answers to help you, but I really hope you can help give me some positive news? I'm teeter-tottering on just cancelling this surgery after reading such discouraging posts about regaining my fitness levels. I just want to know that I can be as fit as I am now some time after surgery--even if is a year or two down the road. Thanks for any information you can give me. I hope you are doing well with your recovery and fusion. I admire your courage for going through with it. -Megan
Last edited by megrunsfast; 10-10-2010 at 06:20 PM.
Reason: post encouraging message for writer
So there is a positive to this! While I feel its taken me a while to get back into things, I am! When I 1st got cleared to do more then walking after 3 months I started biking then once I got some activity back under my belt I began run/walking on a treadmill. But for me somewhere around 5 or 6 months I got into a slump and was questioning why did I do this I'm limited to what I can do. BUT... now I'm at almost 11 months post-op and I do not regret the decision to have surgery at all! I have gained a lot of flexibility, but I have to work at it everyday. And I'm back to running (on a treadmill mostly still, sometimes on a soft surface track or turf). I'm lifting weights (probably not like you do though). But I'm back to being active, I'm not at the speeds I was before surgery but I'm getting there. I'm on treadmill about 3 or 4 days a week and it feels great! While you have to have a lot of patience... it is possible. Don't be discouraged by others, I feel that everyones experience is different and its also tough to find someone who is as similar to you in this. While there are things you are limited with, sit ups, back stretches, etc... there are other things you can do to gain the same effects. I know I've written a lot and I feel I can keep going, so please let me know if you have any more questions... I'm almost a year post-op now and like I said even though there were tough times I would not change the decision of having and going through surgery!
Thank you so much for your encouragement and advice. It helps to hear from a runner who is on the other side of the surgery. I actually ended up going through with the surgery; the surgeon ended up fusing me from the T4 to the L4. I got the surgery on October 14th and found after kicking that yucky pain medicine, that I'm recovering pretty rapidly. I am only allowed to walk on the treadmill and do exercise that involves zero lifting, twisting, or bending (a modification of the elliptical or the bike are the only things I can think of). But, I am so happy I got the surgery. A straight back and even hips, as well as the knowledge that my curve can no longer progress further seem priceless after the surgery, and I can tell based on how I feel now that my flexibility and cardiovascular state will be fine as the recovery time passes. It's encouraging to hear that at 11 months you're doing well and back into running, etc. Thanks so much! I'll take extra caution to be patient during the 5-6 month mark! I'm glad I did it!! Keep up the good work getting back into the full swing of things! Take Care! Megan
Hey XC runner, I am getting T2-L2 surgery in a few weeks I have about a 60 degree curve and I was just wondering if you could talk a little more about your flexibility. I did not know that I would be having any of my lumbar spine fused, and I have been told that this is the section of the spine most important to flexibility. I am just feeling nervous/worried I know everyone says that eventually you will be able to go back to normal activities and everyone's recovery is different, but I was hoping for a little more detail in terms of what you can and cannot do flexibility wise, and how quickly you were comfortable again post-op etc. Thanks so much!
You are right everyone is different and I really think it has to also do with your mental mindset as much as it has to do with anything else. When I 1st started being active post-op I had the athletic trainers and seeing my teammates working out, as motivation to get me motivated to work hard at getting back into being active. Then once summer came and I didn't have those people around me anymore I kind of dialed it down... So I guess what I'm saying is it'll all depend on where your mind is and if you have people around you to encourage and push you to continuously work at it. Now as for flexibility, I can't arch my back much, but I started taking yoga recently again and I can kind of do the cat and cow stretches and the side to side 'c' stretches. I was able to touch my toes after working at it for a while... Its just important to remember to be patient and to keep at it. Its not just going to happen overnight and with only working at it once in a while. As for being comfortable, I was comfortable with being active about 2-3 months after, but then around months 5-6 I became very cautious and timid about things, it was more mental then anything and I'm sure it doesn't happen to everyone. Just remember to be open about everything to people around you and have a good support system... If you ever want to talk feel free to contact me again!
I hope my response helped!