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therapy after spinal fusion L4/5 & S1

Started by pat J on 03/16/2011 4:03pm

I was recovering pretty well I thought until I started some physical therapy at 4 weeks (strengthen core muscles & weak muscles in legs from 3 yrs of pain) I'm in the 3rd week of therapy and feeling a lot of pain exactly the same as before the surgery....did I start too soon??

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5 Responses


Hi Pat J. I am also recovering from fusion surgery, L5-S1, on Feb 24. I just went for my first post op visit last Friday and my Dr. said things looked pretty good and it was ok to get the Nikes out and start walking.
He stressed that all he wanted me to do at this point was walk, and said that he did not send me to residential rehab because he felt they tend to get a little too agressive with patients that have had back surgeries. He said walking will strengthen the leg muscles and if I concentrate on tucking in the tummy
and posture while doing it I will be working on core strengthening too. So for now I am doing nothing but
walking. He suggested I stay out of my gym for a little while. Walking on the treadmill is too tempting to
turn up the pace too fast too soon,, and other equipment may be tempting as well. .
I know how you feel..I spent several years seeking alternatives to surgery and in the meantime lost
strength, especially in my right leg. And my core is like mush, but I;m committed to getting back into shape. My Dr. wants to wait til x-rays show the fusion is going well before sending me to PT. I think
that's about 8-10 wks post op... If you're not sure about doing any PT, I would double check with your surgeon...sometimes the PTs get a little too agressive because you're doing well..but they don't know
what's going on inside...If your PT is hurting...it may be too extreme..definately check with your Dr.
there's just too much at stake not to call and double check..he may say it's fine, but let him tell you that.
Wish you well...Maggie


Hey that sounds way to soon to start exercises according to my experience. I had a lumbar fusion Jan. 18th and I was under strict instructions (no bending lifting twisting) for the first six weeks. At my six week appointment I was told I could do some minor chores but still no exercise, no lifting, only things like dishes, maybe carrying groceries. Today was my 10 week follow up and I was just cleared to start exercising. The doctor said I could visit a PT if I felt like I wanted to. This is a major difference. Perhaps another doctors opinion.

Good luck.


I too had fusion at L5-S1. Surgery was on Jan 19. My Dr. told me to walk, walk, walk. At my 6 week appointment I asked about PT and he told me no, walking was best for now. He did tell me I could do some very light stretches, no BLT (bending, lifting, twisting) and if I felt pain to stop.


I had a fusion l5-s1 on March8. I started pt 5 wks later, but my therapist isn't actually doing much therapy. I have alot of tightness at incision site as well in my legs off and on and also in my upper back. I am a workcomp case so they made me wait over 6 months before they agreed and gave me surgery. During that time I was on light duty but during the wait my body tried to over commensate for all the pain I was in so.. alot of work needs to be done before I can start strengthing my core. Right now my therapist is only doing light muscle tissue masssages to loosen me up in my low back, middle back, upper back as well as my legs. Otherwise doing ok pain wise, starting to cut back on pain meds, but I do use muscle relaxors due to all the tightness. I would say I just started feeling better this past week. Has been a rough recovery, but do not have all the pain I did before surgery. I think and hope surgery was a success, just need to work on my tightness then I can start strengthing my core and whatever else. Hope all of you are doing well.


Gods yes! You need to check with your surgeon or ortho before doing anything like that. What did they say? I was on bed rest, or reclining chair, until 5 months out. Doc wanted to keep me out of it another month but I begged to go back to work and start PT. Hope all is well!