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post TLIF rehabilitation

From: alanitariq - on 11/15/2010 8:32pm

Iam 62years old male not diabetic controled mild hypertensive,167cm. long 90kg wt.,I had TLIF3months ago at level L4L5 for spondlolesthiasis with dx. of lumbar spinal stenosis otherwise healthy using LS belt for the last 3months my complain is symetrical bilateral ankle oedema,Ican now walk for>30 minute without suffering any pain &when can start rehabilitation training

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on 12/10/2010 1:59pm

Alan - I had my TLIF surgery at L5/S1 for a compressed disc on 12/16/09 and my doctor (in Miami at UM/Miller School of Medicine - Spine Institute) had me walking right from the start. I was discharged from his care in February and he asked if I wanted an Rx for rehab. I declined because a relative had hip replacement surgery around the same time and was sent to a rehab hospital and they had her using - you're not going to believe this - Wii Fit Plus- which she continued at home and was the only one of the group she met at rehab that didn't have a limp afterward. So I said that I'd like to try that first and he said to go for it and if I needed more he would prescribe it. Well, I got the system and started out slowly just doing what I felt comfortable doing. I'll admit that I wasn't in the best shape to begin with - not an exercise fan at all - but I worked every morning and built up strength and endurance pretty quickly - in fact my legs and butt have never been so firm since I was a kid (58 now). It worked well for me because I work from home and it made it really easy for me to keep up with - I didn't have to get dressed and go out anyplace - just turned on the TV and the Wii and did a minimum of 30 minutes every day. My favorite program is the "Island Cycle" which simulates riding a bicycle. I thought I'd pass out when I first started the basic program,but it wasn't long before I was able to work my way through the more advanced levels. It's good for the legs, butt and core strengthing.
I have to say that I am soooooo happy that I had the surgery. The warnings from the chiropractor, orthopedist, pain management specialist, physical therapist . . . that treated me after my horrible pain started in Sept 09 all had said the last thing you want to do is have surgery and that may have been true in the past, but with these minimally invasive procedures today, it's a whole other ball game. I have absolutely NO PAIN and am not on any type of medication. Only thing I have is an odd feeling of pressure and I can't bend over and touch my toes anymore and I still have some numbness in my thighs although the area is much smaller and I have more sensation that I did initially. I am able to do just about everything else including redecorate my living room - paint and install miles and miles of crown, base and picture frame molding (I'm the"tool woman" in our family) and go up and down the ladder a million times. We also finally just spruced up our landscaping to prepare for the holidays (we're in FL) and spread 65 bags of mulch - although I let my husband do the hauling of the bags and still I had NO PAIN. I do wear a support belt that I got from the chiropractor when I do any bending or lifting. Also I assume that your doctor has you using the bone growth stimulator. I used mine for about 6 months as my doctor prescribed and used the back brace for about the same amount of time. Just follow your doctor's instructions. Do what you feel comfortable doing and do it regularly. One other thing - if you smoke - stop. My doctor had told me from the first appointment that he wouldn't operate unless I quit because the fusion wouldn't take and it would be a waste of his time and mine. Well I quit the next day, chewed alot of gum at first - no nicorette gum or patches because of the nicotine - but it was just the incentive that I needed to stop which I should have done long ago. Honestly, I didn't all of the sudden feel great changes because I stopped, but I know I'm better off not doing it and having gone this far and with the cost skyrocketing, I'm not likely to go back. Good luck with your recovery.

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on 12/16/2010 1:02pm

smudgesmom,
i had same surgery 4 months ago, i am weaning myself off the drugs, but still have the numbness and tingles that was intital symptons. must admit, weaning from drugs actually is lessening symptoms, ( or it is the time/healing factor ) i was a gym junkie prior, but now i am having a hard time adapting to restrictions like stretching hands to toes, crunches, etc. cannot seem to engage my lower ab muscles, wondering if the nerve connection is damaged from procedure. frustrated, because everyone thinks i'm 'fixed', but i don't feel it.

don't know about this wii game tell me more, please

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on 12/17/2010 5:19pm

whattodo - The system I referred to is Nintendo Wii and they have an add-on called "Fit Plus". Wii was $199 and Fit Plus was another $99 and is a "program" for Wii and it has a "step pad". Google it and take a look at the demonstration. The program has different series of exercises - Yoga, Strength Training, Aerobics, Balance and Training. When I started out in Feb 2010, I was only able to do the Balance exercises, then some Yoga, then step aerobics. As I said the thing I like about it is that I can do it at home and it keeps track of the time you work, the calories you burn and your weight and if you miss a day, it doesn't scold you but gently reminds you that you missed. It's now a year since my surgery and I'd say that I really started feeling like my pre-back pain self in the spring. I love to do home improvement projects and gardening. In July I finally redecorated my living room. I had a paint sample on the wall since Sept 09 when my problem started and every time I walked past it it called out to me, so I was really happy to feel well enough to climb a ladder and crawl on the floor to do it. I also installed miles and miles of base, crown and picture frame molding - my husband calls me the "Tool Woman" - new favorite tool is my nail gun. We also just hosted a family party and had some work to do outside (we're in FL) - weeding, and general clean up and laying down 65 bags of mulch and some sod. I let my husband do the hauling of the heavy stuff, but I laid the mulch out and I didn't have any pain. I do still have some numbness or really less sensation in the outer thighs on both legs, but they were numb right after the surgery. I've been gradually getting more sensation back and the affected area is smaller than it was initially. My doctor had told me that it was possible that I wouldn't get any feeling back in those areas, so I've been satisfied with the gradual improvement. Anyway, it's something I can live with and I'm far, far better off than I was before the surgery. I can definitely feel the "pressure" of the fusion, not pain, but just pressure and again, I can live with it. Whenever I'm doing any "projects" I always wear a support belt - better safe than sorry.

It's really only been a short time since your surgery. At 4 months, I was still wearing the brace (with some of the parts removed) and using my bone growth stimulator every day and I had just weaned myself off the medication I had been prescribed and was just building up my strength and I finally felt well enough to be able to plan to get on a plane and visit the kid/grandkids in California. You may feel better than I did because you were probably more fit that I was to start out with, but with all you've gone through, you don't want to screw up your recovery so do what you can comfortably do and work on your core strength - that was the thing my neurosurgeon stressed to me. A year ago I was 1 day post op after 9 hours of surgery - 4 for the TLIF and 5 for the Microdiscectomy (which turned out to me more complicated than he expected) and scared to death that a nurse who was in a big hurry to get me back in bed had screwed up the whole thing (fortunately everything was fine). When I think of how far I've come,it's hard to believe and the best part is I have no pain.

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