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theizzard
08-24-2009, 05:52 AM
I started pt about 2 weeks ago and I have mixed feelings about it. I do feel that I could do what they are doing without having to pay someone else. What do most people think about pt? Does everybody engage in it or what? I guess if it was just my back it would be different but most of the rest of my body is not in good shape so to help one thing means to hurt something else. It's not as bad in the pool but they have me doing land and pool. I spent 2 hours there the other day and that's way too much time. I am thinking of bailing on it after this week but I don't want to hurt myself in the long run.

avis

Singer
08-24-2009, 07:53 AM
PT was a lifesaver for me. Besides strenghthening a severely weakened leg, it helped me build flexibility and core strength, which helped with my overall stamina and pain levels. It's really important to have a therapist who understands spine issues.

I used the recumbent bike, the treadmill, and did lots of core building exercises on a raised mat, in a chair, and on one of those tippy platforms you have to balance on (forget what it's called).

theizzard
08-24-2009, 08:20 AM
So far I am doing isometric stomach exercises, the elliptical and strength exercises for the entire body. It hasn't been long enough yet to make a decision. I will report back.
avis:D

CHRIS WBS
08-24-2009, 09:16 AM
I personally could never understand the need for months of PT after this surgery unless of course one has experienced an injury. The only PT prescribed by my surgeon was walking and at 14 months post-op Iím pain free and doing just fine. Why compromise a good thing.

loves to skate
08-24-2009, 01:20 PM
Hi Avis,
If I recall correctly, I went for about 12 sessions with the Physical Therapist with vacation time in between and only two half hours sessions a week. It takes a therapist more than a couple of visits to completely assess your needs. The isometrics is where I started and over time other exercises were added. Some were eliminated as for instance, I have arthritis in my wrists, so a different exercise was added or modified. Two hours at any one time seems excessive to me. I think as you get stronger, you will realize the importance of the PT. Of course, I wanted to get back to skating, so my therapy was kind of geared for me to be able to do that. If you have a good therapist, he or she should be able to work around your arthritis issues and once you learn the exercises that are right for you, you can continue them at home. Give it a little more time and if you aren't happy with your therapist, request someone else.
Take care, Sally

rainbow2010
08-24-2009, 03:23 PM
If you have a pool where you can work out, go there instead. Walking in the water, leg lifts to the front, side, and back are great. Swimming breaststroke helps to strengthen the back. I have been to pt at different times in my life and found that after a couple of visits, I could do a better workout on my own. The key is working out in a pool. It takes the stress off of your back while strengthening your muscles. The pool where I go has a treadmill and an elliptical in the water and sometimes an exercise bike (it is broken right now:().

dolores a
08-24-2009, 08:40 PM
I'm glad you started this thread Avis, I'll be starting PT on Thursday -- what I was hoping to get out of it was getting my legs stronger and my core I guess. I've always had strong legs, but since I've been fused down to my pelvic, I know I'm going to be using muscles in my legs that I probably never used before. Not sure though how getting my core stronger will help if I can't bend, maybe I'm not getting the mechanics of it! I wanted to go the pool also, but my surgeon said not yet, too soon guess for the incision.

Any way let us know how it's going.

LindaRacine
08-24-2009, 08:58 PM
I've always thought the ultimate point of PT was to find exercises that one can do on their own. The big question, is whether you'll keep up the exercises on your own.

I totally agree that 2 hrs. is too long!

--Linda

briarrose
08-27-2009, 07:02 PM
Avis,

I did not find physical therapy helpful. It actually increased my pain significantly and has left me with this permanent buzzing sensation in my neck. It could have been the physical therapist I had or just me (I always seem to have strange responses to normal things).

2 hours is a really long time! Mine were about an hour. I quit after week 4 of 8.

Shell

naptown78
08-27-2009, 08:29 PM
I want to put my 2 cents in on the Pro PT side! I started PT about 3 1/2 months after my surgery. I had become so weakened in my legs and back. I hobbled into the rehab hospital on a cane when I started , barely able to raise my arms over my head, and was unable to walk the 6 minute walk without having to rest. I used all of my 24 visits and by the time I finished, I was back to work, with no cane, stronger and able to accomplish the daily personal and work tasks I needed to . My therapist was great . Yes you do need to follow through at home between visits but I am a believer now. She also taught me some tricks and tips on things that had become difficult for me that I still use to this day.

theizzard
08-30-2009, 12:02 PM
I cut the therapy to either pool or land and only have been going twice a week. I find with me that if I go to pt I might not walk or do anything else but if I don't go to pt I will make sure that I walk or do something. Case in point. I missed this past Friday and walked an hour yesterday and today and incorporated one of the nasty hills that are in the area. If I lived in a warm climate I would be in the water all the time. The minute the temperature drops I can't bear the thought of water. Maybe I should have found a place that does only pool work because maybe they keep the water warmer. Something to think about.
avis

asccbodypro
08-30-2009, 03:57 PM
Avis,

My doc said he wouldn't recommended PT. He said we would go that route if needed, but he figured I wouldn't need it. I was cardiovascularly fit prior to surgery as well as extremely flexible and had quite a bit of strength.....not compared to 5 years ago, but still strong. I was slow going with the walking post surgery due to the heat here in Virginia but I started my elliptical at 7 weeks and was able to get right up to 30 minutes in a week. I thought it was strange that after such a serious surgery he wouldn't have all his patients do PT. With that said, I am rather glad I don't have to make the time to go to PT only to be showed things I already now how to do. Being a personal trainer though I know for myself what I need to do. Everyone needs to listen to their own bodies though and some do need and will benefit from PT. Like their surgeries, everyone is so different.

I am still on all my pain meds except the break through pain meds and I feel like I am being weak by still being on them. I want to be off them but listening to my body I don't see myself functioning without them. I still have quite a bit of pain. Not the same pain as prior to my surgery. Maybe I am expecting to much. I am going to make an effort to try and start lengthening my time between doses and see how I do with that. This is my area of frustration as I am sure everyone has their own individual struggles. Good luck with PT, if nothing else, you will be stronger when your done and feel better as well :O)

Doodles
08-30-2009, 07:54 PM
Susan--
I'm glad to see I'm not the only one still on significant pain meds. I was beginning to think I was totally off on my recovery. And you were just a couple weeks behind me. I am now down to 6 1/2 hydrocodone a day and 3 muscle relaxers. I have had lots of trouble when I tried to come down faster than that was pain and soreness. I hope to soon start weaning down to 6. Today is 5 months for me. My little victory today was getting on my footie socks without the sock thing. I could do the left but not the right. I don't lean down of course but put my leg on my knee. Whoopie! Janet

rainbow2010
08-31-2009, 05:55 AM
I go to a senior therapy pool where they keep the water at 90 degrees. It is great and they let people that are younger than 50 come with a doctor's note. It is great even in the hot days of an Atlanta summer!!!

HGD24
08-31-2009, 09:26 AM
PT was the only thing that helped with major stiffness in my hips and lower back. My surgeon kept saying that the stiffness would go away on it's own with daily activities, but finally, when I was 4 months post-op, he sent me to PT. After just 6 weeks of 2 visits per week, I felt great and considered myself fully healed from my surgery. I could have done the same exercises at home too, but how could I have known if I was using the right amount of weight or the right number of reps without hurting myself? I wasn't about to risk injuring myself so I felt that for me, PT was the way to go and the outcome was great.

asccbodypro
08-31-2009, 11:42 AM
[I am now down to 6 1/2 hydrocodone a day and 3 muscle relaxers.

Janet,

That's still less than me: here's what I am still taking.

dose 1: 40mg oxy, 2 valium, 200mg celebrex, surfax

dose 2: 2 valium and (tramadol if needed on somedays)

Dose 3: 2 valium and 40 mgs oxy

bedtime: 4mg zanaflex, 200mg nuerotonin, surfax, phenergan, and all my vitamins

I really want to lessen the oxy. I was taking valium prior to surgery so that's why the dose is doubled. I can't see getting that down anytime soon. I am still having a lot of muscle spasms but I also do alot during the day. I am waiting to see how my doc whats me to go about doing this. He originally said just cut one dose out but I don't want to end up being sick which by talking to everyone on here I know many have gotten sick. My doc sometimes for some reason just doesn't get it...as much as I love how much he has given back to my life:O)

johnsonbunch
08-31-2009, 12:51 PM
Susan, That seems like a lot of meds, and a lot of different ones, for being 4 months post-op. I'm at 2 1/2 weeks and I'm down to 40 mg Percoset/oxycodone in an entire 24 hours. Is the pain really that unbearable? I can understand muscle relaxers, but how does the valium really fit in?

theizzard
08-31-2009, 04:45 PM
I am at 6 month and still on pain meds. My surgeon and my gp who prescribes for me are both aware of what I take and my surgeon actually said that when and if I come off, I would guide the process. I have cut down substantially but don't see going off of everything in the very near future. We are all different in our pain tolerance and levels and I don't know about anyone else, but if it were just my back and back surgery I was dealing with then maybe I would be off my meds but that's not the case. I also deal with both knees and both shoulders and would be in deep doo doo if I couldn't take pain meds. Today was my first day at my practicum so I didn't take any break through meds until my shift was over. By the time I got home I was not in good shape and because now I have to turn around and go to school I am deliriously glad that I had meds to take for the pain and glad to report much less pain and stiffness since taking them.
Thank you and I hope that made sense. It's a long day.
avis

Doodles
08-31-2009, 08:42 PM
Susan--
Not sure if I made myself clear--6 1/2 total not 6 half tabs. Anyway, you are right that does seem like a lot. I finally gave up trying to get meds through my surgeon. Yes, he was wonderful for the surgery, but they don't seem to have a plan for pain after that. What he says and the receptionist/nurse didn't jive and I was being cut off by 6 months and knew there was no way. I finally went to my regular physician at home and he is basically my "pain management" person now. The oxycontin & percocet I had for maybe two months and had no trouble changing to hydrocodone & muscle relaxers. I really don't know much about some of your other meds but it is certainly true that we are all very different in our recovery. I hope you get some assistance in drawing down some of these when you are able. Janet

asccbodypro
09-02-2009, 10:40 AM
Sandy,

The Valium acts as a muscle relaxer. I have been it's one of the most effective. I was on it prior to surgery so that's why the dose is higher now. I also have a very high tollerance to meds and unfortunately tylenol doesn't touch the pain. I've tried. Even in the hospital getting morphine and it didn't even knocked me out, it helped the pain but I still stayed very aware and of sound mind. It's wonderful that you were able to ween off so quickly, I admire that your body agreed with you and allowed you to accomplish that. I on the other hand seem to be a slow healer as far as pain goes and my system is just not ready I guess. I exercise 6 days a week faithfully and have started adding weights. I am making progress and just need to realize that everyone is different. I have an email out to the dr. to start lowering the dose of the oxy and we'll see how that goes. I would like to cut the pills in half that i have now but because it's a long acting med I am going to assume that cutting it in half isn't possible. If you can cut them in half if someone could let me know that would be appreciated. I wish you continued success with your recovery. Sounds like your doing great.

asccbodypro
09-02-2009, 10:51 AM
Avis,

You mentioned knee issues. Did you have surgery on your knees or do they just bother you. Mine have always bothered me on and off. I get sharp pains right under the knee cap. They went away after surgery but started again yesterday while I was on my elliptical. I always assumed the pains were due to eveything being out of alinement but was frustrated when they started up again. However, I am due for new sneakers and that might have something to do with it. We'll see. I think when I see my doc in October if my pain levels haven't started getting better I may ask about a pain management doc. I really feel that at this point I shouldn't have as much pain as I have. With that said though I have trip and stumbled so many times that I keep setting myself back which could also be the reason I'm still on so much.

Last week I was rolling over in bed and felt a tearing/ripping sensation at the top of my rod and between my shoulder blade. I made it to an up right position and just sat there crying because the pain was so bad and that's how my husband found me. He checked things out and said there was a big lump from the rod over to my shoulder blade. I may have mentioned this in a prior post....can't remember. I thought maybe it could have been scar tissue or an adhesion but the Dr. said it could be a Bursa(spelling?) Anyways, it feels like it's starting up again. He said they can inject the area and that should take care of it. I am wondering if anyone else has had this problem.

I think once I stop having these types of problems and stop tripping over things I should be able to come off some of my meds. I use to be so coordinated and now if one thing is out of place in the house I find it and trip over it I swear. MY brain has not caught up to this nice new straight body that I have :O) What the hell!!!!!!

johnsonbunch
09-02-2009, 12:57 PM
I exercise 6 days a week faithfully and have started adding weights.

Susan, I know you were a bodybuilder, but maybe you're doing too much. I was in excrusiating pain 5 years ago, and after the doc told me it was because of the arthritic spurs in my sacrum, I quit going to the gym, quit the back extensions and ab exercises that I'd been doing religiously for 15 years, and the pain subsided. I was rubbing sensitive tissue over bone spurs and was overdoing it. Just take it easy, you're young and you'll be fine. Like you say, we're all different and have different tolerances, both for pain and for medicine.

Doodles
09-02-2009, 12:57 PM
Susan--
I know what you mean about the high tolerance to pain meds. I think for me it was due to all the Excedrin Extra Strength, etc. I took for years and years for all the aches and pains. Unfortunately, the tripping could well have something to do with the meds your're on. You sort of get into a Catch-22--you need them do to the falls and they may be contributing. With what I'm on my husband still thinks I'm loopy at times and I really was before! Also, I do know you are NOT to cut the Oxycontin in half! I remember that one. Janet

asccbodypro
09-02-2009, 05:29 PM
Sandy,

That's to bad that you had to quit the gym. I know for me it broke my heart making that decision to not compete any more. Spending 5 years in pain before even realizing that it was my scoliosis causing all the problems sent me reeling. If I can be half way normal someday I will be happy with that. I went out grocery shopping with my husband today for the first since surgery. We just got home. He pushed the cart and I pushed the baby in his stroller. I am in so much pain. I suppose though that if I don't start doing these things I won't get stronger. I am still amazed at how soon people jump right back into a relatively somewhat normal routine. I thought I would be one of those people. It frustrates me to no end that I am not. As I have said though, I do not experience the same pain as prior to surgery so that's a step in the right direction. It's a very different pain. I am just hoping I'm not one of those people that surgery just changed the kind of pain I have. As far as I am concerned that would be no of life to have but we deal with what we are delt. I am sure things will be fine in due time like you said. Take care and hope things are good for you.

loves to skate
09-02-2009, 08:14 PM
Sandy,

The Valium acts as a muscle relaxer. I have been it's one of the most effective. I was on it prior to surgery so that's why the dose is higher now. I also have a very high tollerance to meds and unfortunately tylenol doesn't touch the pain. I've tried. Even in the hospital getting morphine and it didn't even knocked me out, it helped the pain but I still stayed very aware and of sound mind. It's wonderful that you were able to ween off so quickly, I admire that your body agreed with you and allowed you to accomplish that. I on the other hand seem to be a slow healer as far as pain goes and my system is just not ready I guess. I exercise 6 days a week faithfully and have started adding weights. I am making progress and just need to realize that everyone is different. I have an email out to the dr. to start lowering the dose of the oxy and we'll see how that goes. I would like to cut the pills in half that i have now but because it's a long acting med I am going to assume that cutting it in half isn't possible. If you can cut them in half if someone could let me know that would be appreciated. I wish you continued success with your recovery. Sounds like your doing great.

Hi Susan,

I'm going to be a busybody and also suggest you are doing way too much. You really need to rest more because your body needs rest to heal. You are using your energy to exercise rather than for healing. As to adding weights, I can't believe your Doctor has approved that. Fusion takes up to 9 months to take place. You could be at risk for breaking a rod until the fusion is complete. I know I am a lot older than you, but my Doctor doesn't even approve of Physical Therapy for any of his patients until 6 months post-op, and yes, your muscles atrophy in that time. However, he wants his patients to have a successful fusion and he has a very high rate of success. There is plenty of time after 6 months to get you muscles back in shape. If you rest more, I will bet your pain level will drop down a whole lot faster.

I wish you well, Sally

lapieper
09-02-2009, 09:45 PM
Susan,
Ditto! I still don't like pushing a grocery cart, hurts too much. But my revision surgery was only in Mar 09. I was told even pulling weeds was too strenuous. So I have spent the last 16 months just doing nothing and healing (original surgery in Apr 08, clamp removed in Oct 08, and T3 fracture reparied and revision surgery in Mar 09). I figure by Jan 10, I should be back in the swing of things. I do vacuum now, but sure pay for it pain-wise for several days. If it hurts, don't do it. Listen to your body. It's hard to hear it (or for it to even speak) if you are doing so much and masking the warnings with meds. I still take an occasional muscle relaxant, and just this week had to call and ask for a different med as nothing I had on hand was working. Take it one day at a time, and take it EASY! Hugs-Les

52skeedoo
09-03-2009, 10:01 AM
I have to agree with the others that you might be pushing too hard. I know I was. I used to take 40 mg oxycontin daily and then hydrocodone and muscle relaxants as needed (which really meant all day long). With all that pain med on board I really couldn't judge how much I was hurting.

I'm 9 weeks post op and I'm completely off the oxycontin. It's true that everything hurts more than it did when I was on oxycontin, but for me that is good. Now I am doing much better at balancing rest and activity. I can really tell when I have been too active. The pain tells me to slow down and rest -- exactly what the doctor ordered.

As others have said already, oxycontin cannot be cut. In fact, cutting them can cause an overdose because you can absorb the medicine too fast. The doctor can order lower dose pills to help you taper off.

Good luck.

asccbodypro
09-04-2009, 10:26 AM
Thank you all for the catious warnings. Maybe I am doing to much and expecting to much of myself so soon. I feel that I should have more stamina at this point. I had to go back to using the spirometer every day and that has helped the pain in the back of my shoulder blade and helping the muscles stretch and not be so sore. I just would be happy hearing that someone out there @ 4 months is still slow going. I feel pretty good most of the time when I am in the house, I still need to build up stamina going out. That will come in time. My biggest concern though is I really do not feel that I am ready to start weening off yet, I guess I will just listen to my body and take it day by day and eventually I will be good as new. Again, thank you all for you input. My mother in law got back last night and is here again and she keeps me in line ;O)

Singer
09-04-2009, 10:53 AM
Bear in mind that it takes ordinary mortals ONE FULL YEAR to really recover.

debbei
09-04-2009, 11:02 AM
Thank you all for the catious warnings. Maybe I am doing to much and expecting to much of myself so soon. I feel that I should have more stamina at this point. I had to go back to using the spirometer every day and that has helped the pain in the back of my shoulder blade and helping the muscles stretch and not be so sore. I just would be happy hearing that someone out there @ 4 months is still slow going. I feel pretty good most of the time when I am in the house, I still need to build up stamina going out. That will come in time. My biggest concern though is I really do not feel that I am ready to start weening off yet, I guess I will just listen to my body and take it day by day and eventually I will be good as new. Again, thank you all for you input. My mother in law got back last night and is here again and she keeps me in line ;O)

As I have said over and over :) my biggest problem post surgery was the muscle spasms around the left shoulder blade. It does get better. I think that if I had wanted to wait till they were totally gone to get off pain meds, I'd never get off. :) Muscle releaxants definitely help when I'm having a 'spell'. These eppisodes are defintely less frequent than they were at the 4 month mark. It definitely happens more when I 'overdo' it, too much housework, etc.

Good luck & feel better.

asccbodypro
09-04-2009, 12:32 PM
Chris,

I would like to thing that I am not the average person :O) but you are absolutely correct when you say it does take a full year. I wish my doctor realized this. I think this is where I am feeling the need to push myself to get better with in the 6 month time frame. He said at 6 months I would be taking care of the baby by myself and it would be fine for my husband to get underway. THAT'S what is at the root of all this worrying. I can't see myself doing that even though it's still 2 months off. There will be a lot I can do but there is still a lot of daily lifting involved and somedays I may just not be able to do it. I guess I will cross that bridge when I come to it. I do have plenty of back up but I long for the day that I can do it all on my own again.

Bionic Woman
09-04-2009, 06:45 PM
I was wondering about how everyone felt about PT. My surgeon just told me that he didn't think I was going to need much PT, if any. I'm not really sure how I feel about that:confused: On one hand, I really HATE PT. But on the other hand, I would like some tips on things that are probably more on the OT end like bending, alternatives to squatting since I can't squat, etc. I'm sure if I express these concerns he'll send me to a great place. He's a really great surgeon.

Debbie

Susie*Bee
09-05-2009, 08:13 AM
PT was a lifesaver for me... my surgery left me really weakened, my arthritis complicated (still does) some things (knees and hips), I had never been a squatter and just flat couldn't do it, and the range of motion in my arms/shoulders was really compromised too. My surgeon wouldn't have prescribed PT if I hadn't brought it up, because he didn't realize I just couldn't "do" things I needed to do. When I started my first round of PT at 6 months post-op, I walked like a little old lady with tiny strides, a little hunched over (watching the ground so it wouldn't jump out at me!) and still standing somewhat crooked. My arms and legs were weak. That first round was for strengthening my arms and legs, which it certainly did. It did worlds more too. It gave me confidence again that I could do things... my therapist was great and understood we couldn't put any strain on the fusion, etc. I enjoyed my visits there and worked hard between the visits doing the "home" routine he gave me. He helped me stand straight, walk with normal length strides, and feel secure. He told me to continue (with the exercises he gave me) on my own after I was done with the PT sessions, and to see if we could do some core strengthening when/if my surgeon released me to do so at some point in time. That happened at 11 months post-op, and that next round was super. Again, he was careful not to have me ever put strain on my back-- no crunches, absolutely no bridging, etc. but there was plenty to do. Toward the end of my time there he made sure I knew the proper ways to do routine movements that are required of my job as a librarian, including pushing heavy carts around (like with a TV and not being able to see straight ahead because it's blocking your view); picking up and carrying boxes or piles; picking up, retrieving; or putting away things that are up high or down low from shelves, etc. Even getting things out of file cabinets... It's basic body movements that if not done properly can cause back problems in anyone. This was the "practical" part, and very useful. I have a great set of "exercises" that my therapist left me with that will/should keep my body doing well for life, if I do them. UNFORTUNATELY I have not kept up with them, although I really do miss them and want to get back into it. When I headed back to work a year ago, the strain of the work left me totally exhausted and I had to come home each day and crash, resting on my bed, etc.... There is no way I could have returned to my job without going through the PT. It built a lot of strength and endurance in me. I would have had to quit my job shortly after starting it again. Now I do pretty well and it's possible that could handle the PT regimen again along with the job. Maybe this will spark an attempt. I still come home and rest after school, but not like I had to last year, where I was totally wiped out and aching.

I realize not everyone needs PT, but it can be of huge benefit and very necessary for improved quality of life for some of us. I'm so grateful that I had my PT!

52skeedoo
09-05-2009, 10:45 AM
I just saw my doctor yesterday for a 2-month post op checkup. Like several of you have mentioned, I was a bit unsure of what my limitations were. I thought a PT could tell me exactly what I should and should not be doing at this point.

At first the doc suggested I go to PT and then he asked more questions and changes his mind. He decided I was really doing just fine without PT. He talked about the importance of pulling in my abdominals to support my back, being aware of my posture when sitting and especially when walking, also gently working on stretching out and strengthening the muscles in my low back and upper back/neck area. I walk three times a day, 15-20 minutes at a time. (That's dedicated walking and not shopping or wandering around the house. ) I try to walk as normally as possible and have noticed that where I used to lean forward a lot and take little tottering steps, I can now almost take a normal length step, can swing my arms almost normally and don't lean forward as much as I used to. The doc said this is the most important thing that I can do.

Squatting has been a big problem for me. I have arthritis in both knees (bad patellas) and never used to squat. Since surgery sheer desperation (like simply needing to sit down and get up from the toilet without leaning) forced me to squat more. My knees and legs hurt almost as much as my back much of the first 5-6 weeks. Although my legs got really sore, I have noticed the muscles building up. My left leg now tolerates it much better (my right knee is just too arthritic). I still use every available hand-hold to reduce the stress on my knees (such as using the disabled toilet, grabbing chair handles to get up and down) but am happy that my legs are somewhat stronger.

Sorry this is so long. All of us are different. I had so many questions that I expected the doc to send me to PT and was surprised when he changed his mind. I've been a bit of an exercise buff for a few years and know my body pretty well, so I guess I can get along for now without a PT. A month from now, if I don't think it is working out, I will be calling my doctor for more help.

Hope this helps someone out there. ;)