View Full Version : Skiing? Flying?

12-12-2005, 07:54 PM
Hey. Im supposed to be going on a trip in January to go skiing with my family in Colorado. Am I going to have any restrictions? Anything I should know? Anything will help. Just want to make sure with my "medical advice" before I go! LOL! Talk to you soon! Ross

12-12-2005, 08:13 PM
............Have you ever skied before????.... One thing you'll have to be careful of is how you 'fall', I guess just try not to fall too much :-) and if you do fall....fall correctly :-p

......Not sure on this one, but if you get a snowball in the back it'll probably hurt (but prolly hurts for everyone lol)

How are things??


12-13-2005, 02:50 AM
you're already over a year post op so you must be solidly fused... i can't think of a reason why you shouldn't ski. the only problems with flying come very soon after surgery if your lungs haven't recovered enough to cope with cabin pressure. all i can say is have fun!

12-14-2005, 03:14 AM
Matt, my daughter's doctor discouraged skiing ever for anyone, but is a great surgeon! My husband and I got our kids into skiing as toddlers and my kids still ski as teenagers. My daughter is of course under restrictions following her July 18, 2005 surgery, so I am "playing the part of a good mom" and forgoing any activities she can't do for the year, including skiing. Next year, though, unless the doctors find reasons otherwise, she and I will be eager to hit the slopes again!!! As someone asked you on this forum, the important question is, have you skiied before? I have not fallen on skis for several years, as I learned as a youth myself and am not an aggressive skiier to start with. I avoid moguls and enjoy the pure thrill of whizzing down the mountain at a nice comfortable speed and avoiding risks. My 15 year old daughter is more like me in her desires to just relax and enjoy the sliding down the mountain. However, she falls sometimes, so next year I will be ever more careful to avoid the icy or treacherous spots of the mountains. My husband and 13 year old son like the challenge of moguls better than us, so they would be more dangerous on skis following spine surgery! If you know how to ski and you doctor says ok, have careful fun and avoid the challenges if you can. If you have not skiied before, I'm not sure I would risk it, as you will certainly be on the ground and pulling yourself up off the snow almost more than skiing at first. Good luck! Kris

12-14-2005, 05:19 PM
About the whole skiing thing...at my school we always take a school trip and go skiing. I had 2 major surgeries in 7th grade..in november, and then in like january of my 8th grade year i was able to go skiing. Let me tell you..i took some pretty nasty falls so i wouldnt worry too much about that, it will probably only cause you to fall more and harder. Have fun!!


12-15-2005, 05:12 PM
I know I'm coming in late, but since your trip isn't til January maybe it'll help.

I had surgery right after I turned 14. I rode horses competitively and I had to give that up for six months but then was able to ride again. About a week before the one year anniversary of my surgery, my horse slid to a stop in front of a jump at a horse show after going pretty fast. I flew over his head and landed on my head. I'm not sure how to compare that to skiing, but it was a pretty hard fall and the way I landed definitely had an impact on my back, but it didn't mess up anything (other than maybe my mother's sanity). I've been skiing twice before, but both times were several years after my surgery. I did, however, have quite a few falls (made the mistake of going down a blue-black slope during my first ski trip, ended up rolling down most of it!) and never had a problem. I also went water skiing probably a year-ish after my surgery and didn't have any problems. So in conclusion (haha) I think you'd be fine...be careful and don't do anything stupid, but that goes for everyone. After a year your back should be solidly fused. If you take a fall hard enough to mess it up, chances are you'd be about as messed up without the fusion anyway. I'm also going skiing in January :D . Have fun!

12-15-2005, 05:34 PM
To gypsy,

There's a risk with anything! People die from falling off horses, from falling down mountains while skiing, etc. While I don't intend to do anything completely stupid, I also don't plan on limiting my life. I'd rather live and be happy and take a risk than be a hermit for the rest of my life.

But in regards to the amount of risk, a year after your surgery your back is fused pretty solidly. I'm not saying it's not possible to mess it up, but it's not like you're a fragile human who could fall apart at any time. Like I said, I've done everything from horseback riding, snow skiing, water skiing, white water rafting, and more and I've never had a problem. I'm nearly 4 1/2 years post-op. I've taken some falls in every one of those situations; my horse flipped over a jump in May 2004 (almost 3 years post op) and nearly landed on me; as it was, I landed on my head/neck again...sure, it could've been worse, but it wasn't. I still do it. (I have that one on video too :p haha). If the doctor had told me that even a little fall could mess it up, paralyze me, etc. I wouldn't do it. But the doctor's approved me for these various activities, I haven't had any problems, and I no longer even think twice about having rods in my back...I can't feel them, can't see them, and barely remember that they're there.

12-16-2005, 02:15 AM
Matt, I wanted to reassure you that my opinion of skiing is go for it, although my doctor may have a different opinion (he's never skiied, so what does he know). Don't tell him I said that, he had my daughter's life in his and God's hands for 10 hours and brought her back to me with a wonderful, straighter spine. I find it interesting what some people said to you regarding skiing and horseback riding since surgery, after at least a year. They testify to me that people can learn to ski after surgery also and still, a fall is a fall. Enjoy skiing! I miss it now and can't wait until next winter to ski again with my daughter and our family!!!
Gypsy, In case you were not informed by your doctor, the rods, screws, bolts, etc., are only in place to hold the spine in place as it fuses during the first year or however long each of our bodies takes to fuse completely. The reason they don't remove them after a year or two is who would want to go through that surgery if the rods aren't bothering them, etc.? As I read experiences on this forum, it looks like people have rods and screws etc. that move or break during time occasionally. If they don't notice the problem and the doctors conclude it is not a risk, they just leave it alone, since the spine is fused anyway. I would not worry about a screw coming loose during a fall as much any more after the waiting period is over than a bone chipping, since the screw has done its joy already and now we just depend on the firmly fused spine. Thanks for the confidence from everybody regarding my daughter skiing next year and also horseback riding. Be careful falling on your head/neck! I hope you wear a helmet. That may have been what protected you from serious injury to the head/neck. Kris

12-16-2005, 06:18 AM
Your spine can't bend where the rod's were put in, but can bend above and below the fusion......this means that these vertebrae (above and below the fusion)....do take more 'stress' than a back without rods.

Adding onto the rest of the conversation
One thing you always have to hope for is that you haven't had any areas of non-fusion, or areas of 'weaker fusion' (ie didn't fuse particularly well). They can often 'see it' from the x-ray but not always....and you may not find out until you do something and you find out the areas damaged.....Also (I'm the last one to talk considering some of the things I do).....yes the areas fused, but it does undergo a great deal of stress (doesn't bend etc) and is not entirely indestructible........but my theory is if I break my back/neck whilst I'm doing something at least I was doing something fun/enjoying life, and not simply sitting in a corner going 'woe me' and having regrets whilst doing nothing.


12-16-2005, 06:46 PM
Hi Matt,

Glad you survived Katrina. I prayed for you when you told us you were leaving town.

There is NO WAY I would ski after having my spine fused. I don't know about you, but having that surgery was the most excruiating pain I have ever experienced. I find plenty of ways to have fun without taking the risk of damaging my spine. I certainly don't want a refresher course on that surgery or the recovery that goes with it! Best wishes...I hope you choose to stay on the safe side.

Kindest Regards,

12-16-2005, 07:18 PM
The two things I will not do are

Bungee Jumping

Everything else I will try at least once...........even if I never do the activity more then once in my life, at least I have had the oppurtunity to try it


12-18-2005, 11:17 PM
i live in colorado i ski im 6 months post op...just make sure not to land on your back as much becaause falling hurts and you get sore even without having a spinal fusion just be careful and where you going skiing? oh and be careful not to bend a rod doctors get kinda uptight....i bent mine and dr.e wasnt particularly happy about it lol

12-22-2005, 02:41 PM
Hey everyone. Well, the trip got cancelled. But thank you all anyway for all the advice. Next time I got skiing, I will definitely know what to do and what not to do. Thank you again. Ross