View Full Version : Keeping in shape after surgery

03-04-2010, 09:21 PM
Hi all,

For those of you who don't know, i'm 24 and have kypho. Almost positive i'm having the surgery within the next 6 months.. Even with my strict and healthy diet, i still have to exercize to keep as fit as i can and keep my belly in check, of course doing the best i can considering the pain i'm in. I'm sure most of you have been there.

I'm wondering what were your limitations after your surgery vs. before? Could you run, twist, lift weights, and do physical activities the same or were you limited in any way? I'm taking about after the fusion and recovery was complete. Squats and deadlifts are the best way to keep fit as these work the biggest muscles, but i'm worried that this as well as other physical things would be too much strain on a fusion'd up back and something might break or something from the pressure of exercizing. What about interval training, basic cardio with squats, any low contact sports, anything you can think of. Just trying to get a picture of how it feels and how fragile a fusion with rods is. Hoping i'll be able to still keep in somewhat good shape after the surgery. Thanks for your time!

03-04-2010, 11:58 PM
I am 12 months post op and saw my surgeon on Wednesday. These are some of the things I asked him. He believes I am fully fused. He suggested in future, I don't run or lift heavy objects. He said my fused spine will now be stronger than the rods and if I was in an accident my spine is the least likely bone I would break. But he said that the vertebra above my fusion needs to be taken care of.

Those were the only two things he felt I shouldn't do.

03-05-2010, 12:28 AM
Hi Ryy...

Your restrictions could be different than others, because you have kyphosis. Kyphosis curves put a lot of stress on the upper thoracic vertebrae, and anything that puts forward force on the thoracic spine can cause screw pullout. I'm guessing that you'll be told to avoid twisting, bending, or lifting anything over something like 10 pounds for up to 6 months.

I would definitely recommend that you discuss this topic with your surgeon.


03-05-2010, 12:38 PM
Going to discuss it with my dr at the next appt.

Yeah I realize no major movement in the first 6 months to a year. I'm talking about long after full recovery. Wondering what the limitations would be for a youngin' like me.

03-05-2010, 07:43 PM
As someone who is over 30 years post op, LISTEN to your doctor. After surgery, your spine will function differently. Bending forward, you will only bend above and below your fusion. Putting too much stress on your back can lead to problems later in life. I worked at a bowling center and we used to play catch with bowling balls when cleaning up after the kids' leagues. Tossing 8 to 16 pound bowling balls was on my list of things not to do but I did anyways. Now I have problems above my fusion.

03-05-2010, 09:22 PM
Will do, rainbow. I hope my fusion will be a successful surgery and go well. If it does, i hope to be able to stay in good shape physically which requires some light-moderate weight lifting to maintain some muscle, running, various physical activity etc. Hard to say what is acceptable and what isn't with a fusion, as the negative movements probably aren't immediately known, but damage over a period of time. Yeah i realize after a fusion, the top and bottom of the fusion are a little more stressed then the rest of the spine.. Anyone else with any good words? thankss

03-22-2010, 01:26 PM
Hi Ryy - again, I can't offer you any answers but would like to ponder along side you if that's OK. I was just recently having these same thoughts - I think that's a sign that a person has pretty much committed themselves to go ahead with the surgery (?) I was thinking about Yoga - I've done yoga for as long as I can remember, mostly to relieve the pain in my back - I love it, I feel about 8 foot tall after a class and really flexible and pain free. I am guessing that yoga would be out if I am fused T1 to L1? can't imagine how I would get into a shoulder stand as an example?

Anyone do yoga post-op?

Can you do an effective sit-up?

03-22-2010, 01:42 PM
I'm fused T1-L4. I keep in shape by doing aerobic exercise (mainly hillwalking, climbing and cycling) and can do sit-ups with no problems by using an incline bench.

03-22-2010, 03:47 PM
I am fused T3-L2 and I am still able to do some yoga. I take a class once a week and the instructer is aware of my fusion. I modify some exercises but am able to keep up with the pace of the class and do most of the exercises without a problem. For example, the shoulder stand is really not an option, but I would typically do a bridge pose instead. I think it is definitely possible to go back to doing yoga if you are only fused to L1 as long as you are able to listen to your body and modify the exercises. You just need to talk to your doctor about when it would be ok to start those types of activities again. I also do some cardio sculpt type classes which are a half hour of cardio and half hour of light weights, squats, pushups, etc. I was able to start the cardio and a little yoga at 3 months and started the weekly class at 6 months. I think that is earlier than most though.

03-22-2010, 11:23 PM
Fandango! Namaste! :) I do yoga too and am worried about never being able to do it again, but I think we will. I've talked to several of our yoga instructors and they all seem to have stories of people that have been fused and still do yoga! What type do you do? I do Power Vinyasa in a hot studio and wow, do I love it! I know exactly what you mean about feeling 8 foot tall aftewards! And so flexible! My surgery is next week, and I just started yoga last November. Wish I would have started a long time ago. I think it will help get the best correction possible, too.

04-05-2010, 07:39 PM
so running is all fine after a fully healed fusion? i know whenever i get surg that i'll have a tendency to be really delicate and worried that i might mess something up in there. light lifting is okay as well? what sports can and cant you play? basketball, baseball, tennis, bike riding, etc.. more insight into keeping in shape after surgery would be great, thanks guys :)

04-06-2010, 12:36 AM
Ryy. I suspect surgeons might give differing advice about that, but that was one question I asked my surgeon at 12 months post-op. He said, if you want to save your vertebra above your fusion, don't do it. That was enough for me. I walk very fast though!

04-06-2010, 12:38 AM
Woops! I am talking about the running. I kayak, swim, garden, do all the housework. I would like to run, play basketball etc. and feel I could, physically, but I don't want to upset those upper vertebra. I want to keep them safe.

04-08-2010, 11:52 AM
I am 20 years post fusion - sorry, I don't have the specific sections of my spine that were fused, but my fusion starts at the bottom and goes up to just below my shoulder blades.

I am almost 38 - pregnant with my third baby who is due in 10 weeks. I am VERY active, even during pregnancy! I run (yes, even at 30 weeks pregnant - I did four miles the other night!!) and lift heavy weights. Lifting and running are a HUGE part of my life, and I usually work out 6 - 7 days a week. I also like to ride my bike in the summer. After baby I plan to train for a half marathan. I have had zero problems, zero pain for the past 20 years! I think that my active lifestyle has helped me stay pain free and strong! The only thing I can't do is any twisting and of course bending where the fusion is. I tried golfing once, but you can't swing a golf club if you can't twist! Good luck to you - I hope you are able to life an active lifestyle after surgery!

08-23-2010, 04:22 PM
i recently got into doing interval training stuff, to keep my metabolism a little higher. works better than slow/medium speed running/jogging. do you think after a fusion for kypho that i'll still be able to do this after recovery? it's a lotta squats with big jumps, running in place while bringing your knees way up, a lotta fast movements that gets you sweating like crazy. what do you guys think?

08-23-2010, 05:33 PM
Ryy, you will have to ask your surgeon for specifics, but in my case now, I wouldn't be able to do it but I'm only 5 months post op. Maybe in a year or so. I have gotten back to yoga, however, and don't underestimate the muscle you can build doing that! Also, I walk fast on an incline on treadmill, or do hills in the park. I used to run, but there is no way I would do that now at 5 months post op. I'm glad I had the surgery done, that's for sure!

08-24-2010, 06:23 PM
I am going to be very unhappy if I can't play golf after surgery. I have a decent swing which as you know involves twisting. I am just hoping to somehow compensate. Did you play golf before your surgery? I play 6 days a week and will be crushed if I can't play well enough to be able to tolerate it. However, I will miss my golfing friends if I give it up totally. Stacy Lewis is an LPGA profression with scoliosis who has had surgery, however, it didn't involve the lumbar area.

08-24-2010, 11:09 PM
I'm fused T2-L5. I don't see that there would be too much problem swinging. I do miss dancing though so far and hope I can loosen up sometime soon

08-25-2010, 04:29 AM
I think I could play golf, though my whole trunk would move whereas pre-op I would probably twist from the waist. (If that sounds odd Karen, it's because I'm not a player!) Debbei does Zumba and wriggles with the best of them, though differently!

As a competitive player, you might find you drop back but with practice, I honestly believe you will play again, and if not as well as you do now, I think you will play well enough to enjoy the game.

It will be different, but I can't see why you won't be able to play golf again, and enjoy it.

What I've learned, fused to pelvis, is that nothing's impossible, just different.

08-25-2010, 01:15 PM
During my spondylolisthesis surgery Januar '09 I was fused from L4- S1 and started playing golf after 4 months. I don't have any trouble swinging a club. Just played my last round of golf with my Wednesday morning group, probably for a year; very sad. Dr B says that I will have to wait a year after my surgery to play since this is a much longer fusion. I am hopeful, though, that after 9 or 10 months he may just let me go out and chip and putt. I could probably use a whole season of chipping and putting anyway.