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working out after spinal surgery?

posted about 3 years ago | Report

After 9 months of pain and weakness in first my leg and now my arm, they've finally found the culprit: A disk herniation at C5-6 that is pressing into my spinal cord. It's very likely that I'm going to need surgery (I meet with the surgeon Wednesday - or at least the first surgeon since I'm going to get several opinions!).

I would really love to hear the stories of anyone who had spinal surgery and who were eventually able to return to actively running and/or some other DM-worthy activity!

  • Hello. I started having major pain in my lower back a few years ago and it eventually led to numbness and inability to use my right leg. After months of PT and an MRI I met with a neurosurgeon and he scheduled me for emergency surgery 5 days later. I had a discectomy on L5S1 and left the hospital the same day. The nerve was almost completely dead and my muscles in my leg had deteriorated so much that I could hardly use the leg or foot and couldn't even stand on my toes. The doc told me to start walking immediately after surgery and I did. It took my almost 2 years to get my full strength back in my leg but I was able to walk and use my leg from the time I woke up in the hospital. It will be 3 years in February and I am just finishing C25K and feel better than I ever have. Some things that I wish I knew now was that I should have walked much more both before surgery and after. I have always struggled with my weight and recovery would have been much better if I hadn't been so heavy. Depending on the extent of the damage and your surgeon's practices, you may be doing quite a bit of working out almost immediately after and should be able to run within 6 months or so. Good Luck!! If you have surgery, let me know how it goes.....it changed my life!

    posted about 3 years ago | edited about 3 years ago

  • My surgery (2-level anterior cervical discectomy & fusion aka ACDF) is finally scheduled for 1/3/12.

    Anyone else here have a story of going back to running or other strenuous exercise after spinal surgery?

    posted almost 3 years ago

  • Good luck! I couldn't be any happier with my quality of life and ability to exercise after the surgery. I couldn't lift anything heavier than about 5 pounds for quite some time....doctor's orders, but I was walking the next day and could have been running by 6 months. I am coming up on my 3 year anniversary in January and I am running a few times a week and boxing, cycling, etc. on other days with no problems!

    posted almost 3 years ago

  • I just "celebrated" my 1 year surgery anniversary last week. I had a fusion at L5/S1, and feel the best I have in years...really the best I can remember. I suffered with pain for almost 10 years, so having to deal with a few months of intense babying of myself, PT and recovery, I couldn't be happier. I was actually in the hospital for 4 days, and was walking with a cane for a couple of months...but strength and ability came along each day.

    Started C25K 6 months ago, and have no completed two 5k races (slowly) and continue to run and gain strength. I hope you have a very successful outcome. Just remember to take things slow. Recovery is a long process, and even after a year, I still have some tender spots.

    Send me a friend request if you'd like, I would be happy to email with you if you have more questions.

    posted almost 3 years ago

  • I just "celebrated" my 1 year surgery anniversary last week. I had a fusion at L5/S1, and feel the best I have in years...really the best I can remember. I suffered with pain for almost 10 years, so having to deal with a few months of intense babying of myself, PT and recovery, I couldn't be happier. I was actually in the hospital for 4 days, and was walking with a cane for a couple of months...but strength and ability came along each day.

    Started C25K 6 months ago, and have no completed two 5k races (slowly) and continue to run and gain strength. I hope you have a very successful outcome. Just remember to take things slow. Recovery is a long process, and even after a year, I still have some tender spots.

    Send me a friend request if you'd like, I would be happy to email with you if you have more questions.

    ***Sorry about the double post :(

    posted almost 3 years ago | edited almost 3 years ago

  • Thanks! Friend request sent. :)

    My surgery is scheduled for 1/3/12 - two level discectomy and fusion, just one night in the hospital but probably 6 weeks off work then returning to "light duty" (not hard since I'm a college teacher and don't exactly do a lot of physical work).

    I'm hoping that I can set a goal of running (or run/walking) a 5k in October -- this is the 5k I entered over a year ago having never imagined I'd be able to do something like this, even though I walked half the time and my time was something like 42 minutes, and my symptoms started just after that. I'm hoping that I can start C25K again in the summer (6 months post surgery), and be ready to RUN this race by October. I then want to also run the New Year's Day 5k that had been my next goal for that year.

    All my doctor has said so far about post-surgery activity is that he wants me up and moving as much as I realistically can, but he doesn't want me to do anything that breaks a sweat, not even on the exercise bike or anything else no-impact, for at least a couple of months, then he'll clear me for more as he sees how I'm healing. They're also not certain if this will address the issue with my leg -- one of my doctors are saying it likely will, another is saying it likely won't and that the weakness and pain in my leg are probably unrelated, and my surgeon just says that he's just really not sure. If this surgery doesn't resolve my leg problem, it's still necessary and it will give me greater incentive to both push past whatever is causing the problem with my leg AND push to find a doctor who can figure out what the heck is going on with my leg.

    posted almost 3 years ago

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