Post Fusion Surgery Exercises / Stretching
I am a 39 year old female and work as a career firefighter. I am post L5-S1 fusion surgery (TLIF-Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion). My surgery was Dec. 14, 2010. This was my second surgery. I had a previous laminotomy with partial discectomy at the same level 2.5 years prior to the fusion (Feb. 12, 2008). I have also been diagnosed with Degenerative Disc Disease a few years back. Although the fusion relieved a great amount of my pain, I am still struggling with adjusting to my new hardware and how different I have to move my body to accomplish simply tasks. For instance, I cannot bend to tie my shoes, instead, I have to put my foot up some place high and in front of me so I can reach to tie. My flexibility is lacking tremendously. I used to be able to stretch and reach past my toes, now I can just hardly clear the knees. When I sit on the floor with my legs spread apart in front of me, I cannot sit unsupported. I have to put one hand behind me to hold me up and then try to lean a little toward the direction of my feet. In that position, I cannot reach past my knees. What exercises have worked for you to improve your flexibility and also core strength? I am currently working out 5 days per week. I usually do 30 minutes of low impact cardio (walking uphill at 4 mph, rotating stair stepper), and lift weights moderately for 45 minutes. After this workout is completed, I spend about 20 minutes on abs and stretching. I really want to improve my flexibility in my hamstrings, back, quads and buttocks and will not mind working hard at it. Basically, I want a somewhat decent quality of life back. Thank you for any advice and responses.