View Full Version : Don't have Scoliosis, but...

01-14-2009, 02:48 PM
I'm recovering from a lumbar L-4/L-5/S-1 fusion done on Oct 22, 2008. I am wondering (hoping) if I am welcome here, because I can't find a good board anywhere.

Obviously, I won't bother anyone if I am alone. I do realize the purpose of the board here is for Scoliosis related issues. But I too need help and support, and can offer the same insofar as my situation.

Seems like such wonderful folks around here, and it also seems that the Moderation is very reasonable. I need BOTH.

My best to all.

loves to skate
01-14-2009, 02:56 PM
I welcome you here and I am sure others will welcome you also. I am sure your pain and suffering before and after surgery is just as real as any of us here. Tell us a little about yourself such as age, where are you from and who did your surgery. I am sure your recovery will be very similar to mine and many others here except with a straight spine, your back muscles don't have to make adjustments after the surgery. Take care, and if you have specific questions, especially about recovery, people will help you with their experiences.

01-14-2009, 04:00 PM
Thank you Sally,

Hereís what I posted on another board just a week or so ago, where I was hoping to join some sort of community. I wouldnít say anything different today, so Iíll just quote what I said there:

(Also, you will see that I had cervical spine surgery in the beginning of í08. Four levels. So, they got me at the top and the bottom in one year, so yes, there has been some SIMILAR suffering. If I am welcomed here, I will fill out my profile info ASAP. Thanks again, Sally.)



Hello everyone!

I had an anterior fusion on Oct 22, 2008, and looking for others to join with me during my recovery. Iím on my 10th week, and still dealing with some pretty significant pain, but I have made very good progress since day-1. I had no idea it was going to be so difficult in terms of ďgetting back to normalĒ.

Iíve been out of work since Nov, 2007, and had Cervical spine surgery Jan 30, 08 (diagnosed with Myelopathy then). It all started with Lumbar pain. Long story short, I ended up needing L-4-L-5-S-1 fusion after all. So í08 has been the worst year of my life, and I am hoping now to have a better year.

Is it within the rules to have a Topic such as this? Where we can discuss various aspects of our respective conditions, the progress or lack thereof? Iíd also like to discuss our walking/exercise progress, etc. What some of you do, what I do, and how it affects our recoveries? Pain levels, etc.

Thank you. I hope this board is open for such discussion, and I hope I and others benefit by it.

Modís, if I am doing something wrong by opening a somewhat ďnon-specificĒ Subject, PLEASE have pity on me and kindly direct me to the appropriate Rules. Iím just looking for help and friendship along the way. I will bow to your every wish and read and reread every link you suggest. So help me get it right, if I have transgressed. If this is OKAY, then please, people, join in and letís HEAL!

01-14-2009, 04:17 PM
SRF-- I think it's fine that you are posting here. Welcome aboard! You have many of the same issues from your surgery and your recovery, so I'm sure it will be good for you-- and for us too. :)

01-14-2009, 04:40 PM
Sorry, I'm 57. A carpenter/woodworker/decorative painter. I was building my own house with my own hands before I got sick. We are living in the home, but most of the interior is still they way I left it in late '07.

01-14-2009, 04:45 PM
SRF-- I think it's fine that you are posting here. Welcome aboard! You have many of the same issues from your surgery and your recovery, so I'm sure it will be good for you-- and for us too. :)

Thank you Susie,

I DID get help here already, and revived the old Post-op Pain Meds Survey thread. That was a big help to me. Thank you, thank you, thank you! <Big smile>.

01-14-2009, 04:54 PM
You're in as far as I'm concerned. :D

If you haven't noticed, there are relatively few posters. It's a slow board to say the least.

That's not to say that is why I am glad to see you. I think your situation is relevant in terms of treatment, recovery, etc..

In re rules, moderators, etc. this place operates very much like an unmoderated forum in my opinion. In the spectrum of things that have been posted, your situation is pegged squarely at the "on topic" end.

I'm glad to see another poster. :)

01-14-2009, 06:06 PM
Welcome Paul!

Wow, 2 surgeries in one year, that's big. I hope 2009 proves to be much better for you. Your last surgery was close to mine, I had T3 to L3 fused Oct 15th of 2008.

How are you feeling now? I had my parents with me for about 7 weeks after I came home from the hospital, and it helped tremendously. I've been off my pain meds since last Saturday, and though I wake up with a little pain (or stiffness, I'm not sure) I manage ok. I've got about another month left of physical therapy 3x a week, where they really work me. I'm able to do laundry, shop, cook for my family. One thing I'm NOT doing is much cleaning. That's what teenagers are for.

I hope you stick around! Besides, we could use more of a male presence. :)

01-14-2009, 10:53 PM
Wow, thanks!

I'm so grateful to have even a few folks, as you say...

My so-called therapy is essentially walking. My next appointment is March 5, '09, and my last one was Dec 4, '08. In my case, my surgeon told me it takes 4 - 6 months for enough bone growth to show up on the x-rays. So since my surgery, I have not been allowed to Bend, Lift, or Twist (BLT). It is my hope that I will be given the go-ahead for SOME sort of specific therapy for my back after the March x-rays.

Walking is good. Stair-stepping is good. Very light leg and upper body exercises are good, but NOTHING to stress my back at all. I have no access to a pool, but if I did that would be good.

I'm in the Midwest area. So walking outside is out of the question for me, especially with the ice. Within the 1st 6-weeks, I was supposed to have worked up to 1.5 miles per day. I was in a brace from hell, with a locking bar down my thiigh, so walking very not only difficult, it was dangerous. I could unlock it for sitting only, and remove it for showers and sleep, only.

So I do laps in my house (and stair-stepping).

1-lap = roughly 45'.
26-laps (per walking session) = 1170'

I try to do at least 6 sessions of 26-laps each, broken up during the day (rest between) to reach my approximate 1.5 miles per day. I have done as much as 8 sessions.

When i started out I could barely make 8 - 10 laps, and I was very "wobbly". I worked up to 22-laps. Now I do 26.

The last 2-days I have started the day with 1 session of 52-laps. (I tried this a few weeks ago, and found that it was too much.) I think I might be ok with this now, however.

I had also incorporated stair-stepping into my routine, though in the last few days I have backed-off on this do to pain-levels (I'll post more on this in the Meds Survey Thread). Anyway, I again started slow and easy, and worked up to 8 up-and-down non-stop sessions, and was doing about 4 - 6 of these and soon backed WAY down... WAY too much at the time. I had since successfully done as many as 6 - 8, 4 up-and-down non-stop sessions, per day/evening. This was much better, and frankly more sane! <smile>

Until now I have been judging my progress based on pain-levels mostly (because I have been in a lot of pain for 13 months, and pain levels was one of two reasons for the surgery to begin with), and actual physical strength/ability secondly. Now I am at a cross-road with this approach (due to reading here) and have made a change, and I think it is for the better and more sensible.

All in all, my recovery is much slower than what I had expected, but in fact I have been making progress and except for some sciatic pain I have not had what I would consider to be a set-back in any way. I was told I could have stabbing pains in my thighs for up to 3-months, and I haven't reached 3-months yet... so I am not complaining.

For the most part, every "morning" is just a tad easier. Ha ha ha... I say "morning" because me schedule is so messed up. I intentionally SLEEP as long as I can and I set NO alarm, so I can "get up" any time between 9:00 am and 3:00 pm... but now this might change again, because I am changed my medication philosophy/approach COMPLETELY.

Thank you so much for the welcomes!

I'm going to type up some stuff over at the Med Survey thread.

I'm sure everyone's surgeries and corrections are different, but are there fusions involved? I was assuming yes, but I was just curious. Does the Scoliosis solutions vary greatly? I'm sorry... I promise I will read more!


01-15-2009, 03:40 AM
Hi Paul
I am Louisse from the UK and I just wanted to say Hi and welcome you to this site.
It has been an incredible resource and support to me before and now after my op and I have gained an incredible amount of knowledge and peoples experiences - so take the time and cruise the site - you will be reading for hours - I found it quite addictive initially, I must admit!
I had an upper 'C' scoliosis curve and was fused T3 - L1 on 4 September 2008.
I am sorry to hear about your two recent ops and wish you well for the future.
I'm off for a nice hot shower - thats always good!!!
All the best

01-15-2009, 06:20 AM
I'm sure everyone's surgeries and corrections are different, but are there fusions involved? I was assuming yes, but I was just curious. Does the Scoliosis solutions vary greatly?

I'd say virtually every adult (excluding people who post about their kids' scoliosis) has been fused or is in the chute. There are a scant few exceptions.

And of the parents who post here, I'd say it's half and half between those whose kids are fused and those who are braced or have non-fusion surgery like stapling.

I'm sorry... I promise I will read more!

Please don't be sorry. I think you have already contributed much to the forum.

01-15-2009, 04:38 PM
Yep, lots of us have been fused-- and some others are courting surgery. I had 15 vertebrae fused, as my signature shows, so I have a long fusion. There's a variety of fusion lengths and you might see some of the info in signatures.

I sent you a PM (private message)-- if you don't know how to retrieve PMs, you can access them by clicking on "Private Messages" found in the upper right corner just below where it says "Welcome, StevieRayFan".

01-16-2009, 01:58 AM
Thanks Susie.

So we are all mostly fused. Is walking highly recommended like it is for me? Do you break it up during the day like me, or try to go for a mile or more at a time and be done with it?

01-16-2009, 09:06 AM
Working out in a pool is the best thing. It takes the stress off of your spine while you exercise. The pool where I go has an elliptical, exercise bike, and a treadmill in the water. It is great to be able to work out on the machines without the stress on my back. I also do leg exercises that I learned in PT and do some water walking (forwards, backwards, sidesteps). I do a little swimming (breaststroke) also to strengthen my back.

01-16-2009, 10:22 AM
Is walking highly recommended like it is for me?

Me too. While I recovered, all I heard from my doctorís office was walk, walk and then go out and walk some more. I started out doing 20-25 laps around the driveway in my walker three times a day, then I progressed to a cane and would walk up and down the street and then eventually I worked up to two 30-minute daily walks outdoors. Iím so glad I had my surgery during summer. Here in the Midwest the weather is not conducive to walking outdoors during the colder months. Now that Iíve returned to work I use the treadmill in our fitness center.

01-16-2009, 12:16 PM
I was told to walk a minimum of 30 minutes per day starting the day I got home. I have, for the most part. :)

01-16-2009, 01:20 PM
Hi Paul

Welcome. As far as the walking is concerned, its all about blood and oxygen circulation for cell regeneration and thus promoting fusion. Walking outside in fresh air is the norm, not using a treadmill indoors.

Outside cardio exercise is a good thing for everyone. It keeps the pipes flowing. Eating a greasy pizza, is the exact opposite, you can actually feel your arteries slamming shut! LOL (maybe that isn't a joke)

I have a neighbor in the same situation, non-scoli with 4 fusions up high, and 4 down low. He has been through the same pain experience as you. He is getting better now.

I'm a Beatles fan, and the song "Its getting better every day" is a tune that should be humming through your head as positive attitude is very important in surgical outcome.

I still hum this song although I'm completely out of pain. I guess its just a habit after 40 years.


01-16-2009, 03:40 PM
Thanks very much, everyone.

We're in the dead of winter in the Midwest, and walking out side is just not an option. Access to a pool is not an option. The best I can do is do laps in my house, and stair-stepping sessions. I'm no stranger to exercise. I weight trained for 30 years, and know the effects of over-training. I'm building up my laps and trying to increase things as I go but have had to back down a number of times. I really enjoy the stair-stepping, but it can be very hard on me. In general, I have to "feel" my way through.

This is the 3rd day now where I have been able to do 52 laps (45' x 52 = 2340 feet) non-stop in the mornings. (I mile = 5,280)

That, plus light leg exercises every other day, plus stair stepping (up/down 1 flight 4 -5 times in a row, several times a day)

When I get bored, I mix it up and try to increase something. Oh yes... very important, I try to stretch ham strings several times per day!

I think 30 minutes non-stop walking per session would be a great goal!

Thanks again, folks.