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  • 2 weeks post op microdiscectomy Left side, now sciatica Right?!

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    Old 04-01-2011, 07:04 AM   #16
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    Re: 2 weeks post op microdiscectomy Left side, now sciatica Right?!

    My experience regarding the treadmill is that some surgeons oppose its use and others say fine. I would just point out that in Western medicine, doctors tend to treat to the specific problem rather than considering the totality of the human body and how inter-related it is. They want the patient to walk, and they see the treadmill as just another venue to provide the patient with a place to walk, but they don't really analyze how it affects all the joints, and soft tissue, how it affects body mechanics, etc.

    I've had doctors tell me after three spine surgeries "If it hurts, don't do it." Not particularly helpful advice since you rarely find out it hurts until a couple days after doing the particular activity! But I have had a physical therapist who works in a PT clinic that specializes in orthopedic spine cases explain to me in detail why a treadmill can be damaging when the patient is trying to recover from surgery.

    When it comes to recovery, I tend to listen more to my guys who specialize in over-all body mechanics, posture and structural elements. (I'm going into too much detail here, but just so you understand what I'm trying to convey: I had a 3 level lumbar fusion from L3 to S1. My spine surgeon when he evaluates my recovery, primarily is concerned with whether I am fusing. When he sees good bone growth, he tells me I can resume any activity I did previously.

    However, as soon as I start to swim, I very quickly develop problems with my left SI joint and pain in the piriformis muscle which leads to sciatic pain. So then I go to my body work guy who specializes in keeping ultra-endurance athletes healthy. Through trial and error, we have figured out that, for now, walking remains my best exercise because it is what I can tolerate without having my SI joint pop out of position. I cannot do a lot of the normal back and core exercises when standing, because, again, it effects that SI joint and the subsequent associated problems. But if I modify these exercises and do them lying on the floor where my spine is supported, I can still accomplish most of the same thing...and I don't get that flare going. As I gradually build up my strength and get stronger, I eventually will be able to swim and do some of the other things that now cause a flare.

    My surgeon doesn't have the time to work through all of this with me, so he just has a generalized blanket attitude that he hands out to most patients because he cannot know each of our unique set of problems. As far as he's concerned, my SI joints look perfect on X-ray. He doesn't know what goes on mechanically.)

    I would just caution you to remember that the disc does not fully heal over and toughen up for about six months post discectomy. During this entire time, it will be more vulnerable to reherniation.

    After three surgeries, I of course err on the side of caution, so I would not be thinking about most yoga postures or running for at least six months. And I personally would think long and hard about resuming running, trying to evaluate how much it means to me vs. the future health of my spine....but these are personal choices, of course. Some spine surgeons tell patients to go ahead and do whatever they want; others will caution against those activities that research has proven are hard on the spine.

    In addition to bending, I would be very careful about any of the twisting postures in yoga. There are a couple good CDs available that are designed for people who are recovering from back surgery. Maybe something like that would give you a better idea of what to do and what to avoid until you are completely healed.

    It's so important to let your body heal completely. Otherwise you end up in a situation where you start to develop little flares that turn into inflammation that becomes difficult to control. Then you're in a vicious cycle. So while you do need to learn to listen to your body, you also need to think with your head!!

    Last edited by teteri66; 04-01-2011 at 07:28 AM.

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