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Old 02-02-2012, 01:55 AM   #1
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life long restrictions?

i was just curious i am fused from L3-S1 are the any lifelong restrictions that the dr will give me.. i feel i have a good outcome so far recent surgury 1 level was 1-10-12..i know several people here have had multilevels done.. i just wanted to know if there will be do's and dont's? im a truck driver so im not sure if thats something that i will be able to keep doing or not? all comments welcome and thank you!!

 
Old 02-02-2012, 07:28 AM   #2
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Re: life long restrictions?

I am not clear on what you have had done. You are fused from L3 to S1, but you recently had one level done....was it added on to a previous 2 level fusion...or just what was it that you had recently?

I feel it is very important to err on the side of caution during the entire period of recovery...and it can take a LONG time for a multi-level fusion to heal completely. I too am now fused from L3 to S1, with the surgery occurring 20 months ago. I feel that while I have been feeling good for a long time, I am just now getting to the point where I can resume most activities without paying a price.

I think if you can give yourself sufficient time to heal completely, you will stand a better chance of being able to slowly resume most activities. However, your back will never be the same and you cannot expect to do the same things you once did. If you want to preserve what you have, you will need to always be aware of using good body mechanics, maintaining good posture and structural alignment and just generally thinking before you do new or different activities.

If you want to preserve the fusion, you might want to give up any really physical work that you know is hard on your back...and don't volunteer to help someone move.

As to your profession, unfortunately, long distance truck drivers, as a profession, have one of the highest rates of back problems. Any sort of sitting puts 30% more stress on the discs than either standing/walking or lying down. With a desk job, one can get up every hour and talk a little walk and stretch, but that is more difficult with your profession. Plus I would think the suspension of the truck, the comfort of the seat and the quality of the road (how bumpy?) would all have an impact, too. Day after day of this has to be harder on the discs than some other professions.

As far as dos and don'ts, it will depend on your surgeon. I would advise you to just use common sense, and always think before doing an activity that has the potential to be hard on the spine. And, "everything in moderation" is probably a useful motto for any spinal fusion patient to live by.

 
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Old 02-02-2012, 10:10 AM   #3
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Re: life long restrictions?

so pretty much same restiction i had before then? yes i just had the one level with instruments..and 2 level a cpl years ago..i agree with the sitting part that you cant do it for very long.. but my dr seems to think that sitting for 11 hours straight is ok maybe he does not know what a truck driver does.. he stated that if all i do is drive then it will be ok..lol.. well thats not all i do.. but time will tell .i will have to wait and see how i heal from this one...i guess really what i wanted to know what the other doctors were telling the them about the type of work they can or cant do??

 
Old 02-02-2012, 11:32 AM   #4
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Re: life long restrictions?

A friend of mine has had two multi-level fusions. She stated that her only long-term restrictions are running, jumping from heights, and twisting, so no golfing. However, I think that she has made lifestyle changes because of her condition, so there are a lot of things that her doctor didn't have to tell her not to do.

Are you an over-the-road driver or local? Do you off-load items or are you no-touch freight? Drop and hook? Does your company have a position description? Are there ways you can modify your duties to avoid lifting, pushing or pulling? If you have access to a position description, take a copy to your doctor so that he can advise what duties you can perform and what duties need to be modified or eliminated.

While trucks typically have air-ride cabs and seats, you still have had shock absorbers removed from your body. So, all of the impact that used to be spread across your discs now has to be absorbed by fewer discs. Consider upgrading or modifying your seat for better shock absorption and lumbar support. And, take your wallet out of your back pocket while you're driving.

 
Old 02-02-2012, 11:49 AM   #5
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Re: life long restrictions?

thanks for your reply sweetpeainsf..my work is local im home every night but i do alot of dropping and hooking..thats what caused my problem this time was because someone dropped it to high and i had to dollie 28,000 lbs down lower..i deal with alot of doors on the trailer that are rusted and there is alot of pushing and pulling involved to get them open..and we are required to crawl under the trailer to inspect them..normal sitting and driving is 7-10 hours alot of pulling and pushing..no hand unloading!!

 
Old 02-02-2012, 01:56 PM   #6
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Re: life long restrictions?

Can you inspect under the trailers with a crawler -- like mechanics use? That seems easier on your back than stooping to look under. Also, maybe get someone to help with the trailer doors.

I have found that if I hold my upper body still and use my legs, I do a lot better with pushing and pulling than trying to swing through with my back. For example, if I HAVE to vacuum, I hold the vacuum at my side and walk with it, like I'm walking a dog. Same with pulling rolling luggage. You can tell that you're not twisting, so long as you have tension in your arm, spine in neutral.

Maybe a physical or occupational therapist would have some more ideas. Maybe some WD40 for the trailer doors!

 
Old 02-02-2012, 02:29 PM   #7
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Re: life long restrictions?

yeah that all sounds easy but we dont carry creepers on our trucks and we should be so luck to have soemone with us to help with the doors..to be able to use wd40 on the doors would require me to do alot of climbing into the trailer...im just worried now becasue i got the fusion at l3-l4 last month so now its l3-s1 and im afraid of how much more ROM im gonna loose dr seems to think anywhere between 10-15% more but i guess i dont really know untill im healed..

 
Old 02-02-2012, 02:37 PM   #8
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Re: life long restrictions?

Sorry -- I was thinking you had a loading dock situation, but if you are looking at having to climb into the trailer, probably a no-go!

Maybe worthwhile to see if your insurance covers an occupational therapist? S/he would probably have more time to spend with you, going over your job duties than your surgeon would, and looking for things to modify. Maybe something to consider even before the surgery.

From what I have heard, with one-level of fusion, you hardly notice ROM differences. However, the more levels you fuse, the more loss you get.

 
Old 02-02-2012, 03:37 PM   #9
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Re: life long restrictions?

yeah i will have to get to be pain free and able to walk around correctly before i can cross them roads i guess.. im only almost 4 weeks post op so i have along way to go before i can even think of getting back into a truck i guess..but the doc pretty much just said that after all is said and done about the only thing i can do is drive.. and when i told him somewhat what is involved in my daily work routine he said maybe a career change might be the way to go..i was just wondering if anyone else went back to any sort of labor work a a 3 level thats all..and thanks for your replys

 
Old 02-02-2012, 08:10 PM   #10
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Re: life long restrictions?

I am fused from L3 to S1 and the only loss of range of motion I notice is when leaning backward...which I am only called upon to do at the doctor's office or in PT. I get through all the rest of my life just fine without needing to bend way over backwards. My movement bending to the side is also less than whatever range is considered "normal."

Before I had the surgery, my surgeon told me the only thing I would have trouble doing was twisting. So sports like golf or tennis would be difficult for me.

I was not working at the time of my surgery but I have chosen not to return to some volunteer work I was doing that had me standing or walking on marble floors. I regarded my multi-level fusion as my last chance to get rid of the pain...and I am not going to take any unnecessary chances at this point. I know it is hard on my discs to be on that marble for any time at all, so I'm just opting to not do it again....

I am 20 months post surgery and I would not be able to do much labor. I find a little bit of certain types of housework or gardening causes some back pain. It goes away...but I'm not going to test it day after day. When I do something that results in pain, I take it easy the following day. But I am babying myself, I guess. I don't know how my back would hold up if I had to do some sort of labor every day.

If you were in a position to find other employment, it would probably be a sensible thing to do...but many people don't have choices.

 
Old 02-03-2012, 05:56 AM   #11
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Re: life long restrictions?

thanks..yeah over the last few years it was rough driving and doing all of the things that i had to do throughout the day at work..and that is what led to this new back problem..the dr told me when he checked on me in the hospital that..that was it i cant have any more surgurys im my lumbar area..not sure why he said it..he also said that i have tiny bones...lol not sure what that meant either..but i have lost about 30 lbs since my hospital stay..so thats a plus i was overweight so im feeling better about that i just cant wait till i can get out and walk and do things again...thanks

 
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