View Full Version : Safe excercises in the first year

09-24-2011, 08:46 PM
Hi everyone. I'm six months post op and doing ok. My insurance wont cover anymore physical therapy and its time to get back to the gym. I need suggestions on what everyone else did to get back into excercising that is safe. So far Ive been walking outside and on the treadmill and at therapy they had me do some band work but Im not sure how that corresponds to the gym. I am asking those of you that have gone before me because even though the therapists are professional they have really no idea how to guide someone like me. I trust the opinions of people that have had the surgery anyway. I want to do some upper body work...whats safe? What's worked for everyone else with full fusions? Thanks for your input!!

09-25-2011, 08:16 AM
I was told that at 6 months I could use the bicep and tricep machines, but not to do any type of overhead pull downs. The PT said not to ever do leg presses. I do some upper body exercises at home with weights while laying on my back on the bed. Since there isn't much in the gym at the Y that I can do at this point ,(almost 9 months) I spend more time at water aerobics where we use styrofoam weights in the water. They seem to be really good for my back muscles (or lack of) and for rebuilding arm mucles.

Mojo's Mom
09-25-2011, 02:06 PM
Did the PT say why no leg presses?

09-25-2011, 02:13 PM
She didn't say why I shouldn't do leg presses. I know it surprised me. I just assumed that it would put too much stress on the spine. I don't know why I didn't ask. Maybe if you aren't fused to your sacrum they would be allowed. I know she is ultra conservative. I asked which would be the best for me at 8 months: stationary bike, elliptical, or recumbent bike. She said I should wait a year for all of them!

09-25-2011, 07:12 PM
I have a similar fusion as you but stop at the T12, so you might have a little less flexibility than me, but at six weeks I walked on the treadmill, used the recumbent bike, started with lat pull downs, seated rows, leg presses, mind you all on very light weight and have now built up to moderate to high weight. At about 8-10 weeks I started to use the rowing machine. Now at almost four months I do yoga, pilates (with modifications) spinning and almost any excercise that does not hurt or aggrivate my back. My surgeon has been really cool and he basically says try it and if it hurts don't do it. He totally encourages me to work out and I think that my healing has been all the better for it.

09-25-2011, 07:19 PM
I find it so strange that every surgeon has such different opinions and thoughts on PT

09-25-2011, 07:45 PM
I agree, Melissa. I guess if you have a physical therapist who knows your limitations, that it would be beneficial. I am pretty disciplined to do the exercises that were recommended on my own at home. I surely will be allowed to go to PT at a year post-op. Meanwhile, I walk and walk and walk and go to water aerobics.

09-25-2011, 08:09 PM
Some surgeons are just being very conservative and cautious and don't want anything to possibly compromise the fusion process. I asked my surgeon if I could have PT because I was so weak and wasn't able to return to my job-- I had PT for arm and leg strengthening at 6 months, and then again at 11 months for core strengthening, but with certain reservations. I was allowed to use a recumbent bike and treadmill, but at slow speeds, when I went at 6 months.

09-26-2011, 12:58 AM
Hi Sarah and everyone - I had surgery on the same day as Sarah - six months ago - but I had complications and ended up in the hospital for almost six weeks and had three additional surgeries to clean up my infection. Anyways...I am recovering well now and all is good. I have been seeing a PT for months now and he also has me doing the recumbent bike and lots of band work. He is very cautious and is hesitant to have me work on any of his other machines. Even so, I am always exhausted after my session. I try to walk every day and do some of the home exercises he has taught me. My arms are still very weak - they look like "old lady arms." I also need to work on stamena. I am a teacher and want to return to work in about a month. I have had to push back my return date but am so anxious to get back to my real life. I am impressed that some of you walk for up to an hour a day - I guess I need to increase my walking. I also really want to increase my workouts to firm up my body. I am at a good weight, but I feel flabby and soft. I don't know which exercises are allowed for that. I will see my surgeon for a followup appointment next week and that is on my list of questions.
PS - this is the first time I have participated in a thread since my surgery - I often read the threads and learn a bunch from them.

09-26-2011, 07:38 AM
Thanks so much for posting. I truly had worried about you since we hadn't heard from you since pre-surgery. I'm sorry you had a rough time, but it sounds like you are doing well now. I feel like I'm getting my pre-surgery arm muscles back, but i think my arm skin looks like an old lady. Good luck when you return to teaching.

09-26-2011, 03:49 PM
Sarah, I was 2 weeks before you for surgery so we are probably close in our progress at this point too.

I don't do any leg presses but I do a lot - a LOT - of lunges and squats. I think the reason you shouldn't do weighted leg presses is because the weight could be more than you should use - really all you need is gravity and your own body weight. I also stand on a step with one foot off to the side and dip down until my heel touches the floor then back up - like a one-legged squat. They are hard. Generally I do 60 squats, 30 of the one leggers, and 30 to 45 lunges. I hate lunges. I also do a lot of deadbugs for core work.

I ride a recumbent bike on Strength Training for 15 mins at a high speed. I usually do it with a cappuccino and iPhone. I like to multi task!

I want to get back to Yoga as I am so tired of rowing bands I could cry. Plus I have a lot of upper back pain which is referred from the weakness in my muscles. My PT told me to go away for a week and not come back or do anything difficult, as I am not letting my bod recover between workouts.

When I do return to yoga, I don't know what I can do beyond plank, gate, and down dog. Maybe I'll look into that.

09-26-2011, 07:06 PM
First of all welcome back Cathy! So glad you are doing well. Lilly...I know you work in NY I live on the Island there is a yoga place called Yoga Union for Backcare on I think 28th Street and on Thursday evenings they do a yoga class for people with rods and fusions any interest? Would be so cool to meet you. I am friendly with Jamie from the forum...maybe we could all get together and try a class. I miss yoga so much as well. Let me know what you think. Look it up they do all kinds of classes for people with scoli. Im so glad you mentioned the upper back pain. I am suffering so much from pain right by both shoulder blades. It feels like someone is stabbing me. The only thing so far that helps is a vicodin and heat and that cant last forever. Can you share any stretches or excercises that help you? Im not loving my PT and my insurance cut me off anyway. Ive been walking on the treadmill alot but not doing much else, hence the orginal post. Thanks so much to all of you for your help. I guess this is just a one day at a time thing which I have no patience for. Looking forward to future posts!

12-30-2011, 08:41 AM
Sarah, I'm going to give the yoga class a try next Thursday (Jan 5). Are you interested in meeting up for the class?