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Re: L5-S1 fusion - Help Wanted

Re: L5-S1 fusion - Help Wanted

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Posted by M. Burkhardt on September 15, 2000 at 02:16:26:

In Reply to: Re: L5-S1 fusion - Help Wanted posted by Dan on April 10, 2000 at 20:44:04:

Hi Gordon and anyone else who is considering or has had a spinal fusion L5-S1!
After reading your posts I feel compelled to give my input regarding the suppossed horror stories and lack of success of L5-S1 Fusions. In February of 1986 I underwent surgery for an L5-S1 fusion at the age of 15. The surgery was done using a bone graf and was performed by Dr. Neil Kahanovitz of the Anderson Clinic in Arlington, Va.. For several months immediately following the surgery I was forced to wear a back brace and was inactive except for walking, which at the time was often painfull. However, I took the physical therapy which followed extremely seriously and followed a healthy diet with emphasis on not becoming overweight during my inactivity. Before long I was back to working out and doing calisthenics. Then in summer of 1987 I began to lift weights, of course I was exceptionally carefull to use proper form and was a bit weaker then my friends due to all the inactivity. I then rejoined my high school football team in fall 1987 as a running back and linebacker (although I later had to quit due to a shoulder injury). During those first 2 years immediately following the sugery I did, of course, have periods when my back would ache or even spasm due to me being a little overzealous. When that happened I just backed off a bit and let my self recuperate. Anyway, now it gets interesting- I am now 30 years old and have been working out with weights for the last 10 years or so. I am 5'10 weigh 175lbs and can bench press about 225lbs. I just passed the NYPD(NYC police) medical exam (where they made me see an orthopedic specialist) and had one of the highest scores on the new competetive physical agility test where I had to run with 20 lbs. around my waist while running, climbing over walls, and dragging a 120lb. dummy. I beat the pants off of most of the guys there. I also spent the past year studying physical therapy and have been measured for strength and flexibility extensively. I have no visible loss of flexibility and can place my hands flat on the floor with out bending at the knees. This surgery(L5-S1) has little effect on flexiblility because it involves L5 and the Sacrum or tailbone, which is way down there. We were taught in school that these 2 bones naturally fuse themselves in about 8% of the population. Fusions of 2 or more vertebrae, on the other hand, particularly higher up the spine can have a greater effect on flexibility. Look, I'm not an MD, but I have had absolutely no back problems in the 15 years since my surgery and I am a stellar athlete. Since my surgery I've also worked in construction, on loading docks, taken judo, played ice hockey, and worked as a security guard where I had to stand 8-12 at a time. If you don't 100% NEED an L5-S1 fusion then don't get it, but if you do, then don't let anyone tell you you'll be out of commission permanently. That's Bulls**t. Much of your recuperation will be up to you. Do your therapy and you'll get better- get lethargic and drink beer you'll probably get fat and have back pain. The first MD my parents took me to said that I would not be able to be a competative athlete anymore nor could I lift weights ever again. I was crushed. They then did some investigating and found out who the best back surgeons in the world were. We learned that what the first docktor said was simply an old-fashioned point of view. That's when I underwent surgery by Dr. Kahanovitz. This man helped give me my life back. My greatest challenge now is convincing others that I'm ok and "normal". That, is unfortunately not always easy. Good luck and God Bless.


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