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Thread: Physical Therapy POST SURGERY

  1. #1
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    Physical Therapy POST SURGERY

    This thread has a different purpose than the other one I started. With that one I was curious about physical therapy as a possible treatment for scoliosis. In lieu of surgery. I have no illusions anymore that PT is a cure for scoliosis.

    With this thread I am concerned with physical therapy as a restorative, after fusion surgery. I'm noticing I am weak, partly from wearing my brace all the time, partly from avoiding certain things I could do before, like bending to the ground or lifting heavy things. I've been babying myself and I'm out of shape.

    Is physical therapy necessary after surgery? Is it helpful? What are its goals? What muscles of the body are targeted and why? Are my problems with walking possibly simply due to lack of stimulation of certain muscles that PT might correct?

    What are people's experiences with physical therapy post-surgery?

  2. #2
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    What PT does depends on each individual's issues. Most typically, they'll work on gait and core strengthening.
    Never argue with an idiot. They always drag you down to their level, and then they beat you with experience. --Twain
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Surgery 2/10/93 A/P fusion T4-L3
    Surgery 1/20/11 A/P fusion L2-sacrum w/pelvic fixation

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by LindaRacine View Post
    What PT does depends on each individual's issues. Most typically, they'll work on gait and core strengthening.
    Originally I want to strengthen my arms without involving my back, if such a thing is possible. They are out of shape. But that's not as important as gait and balance.

    Is PT necessary or just nice to have? If I don't have PT to correct my gait, will my gait suffer for good?

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tina_R View Post
    Originally I want to strengthen my arms without involving my back, if such a thing is possible. They are out of shape. But that's not as important as gait and balance.

    Is PT necessary or just nice to have? If I don't have PT to correct my gait, will my gait suffer for good?
    I personally think PT is a really good idea, though some people just don't have the ability to have it. If you have access and your surgeon agrees, I would definitely go.

    Your gait may not be disturbed at all. A good PT should be able to diagnose and correct any problem (if you're willing to do the work).

    --L
    Never argue with an idiot. They always drag you down to their level, and then they beat you with experience. --Twain
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Surgery 2/10/93 A/P fusion T4-L3
    Surgery 1/20/11 A/P fusion L2-sacrum w/pelvic fixation

  5. #5
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    I agree with Linda. I personally think it is a good idea if you can get it - but you do have to do the work (just like any exercise program).

    If you give them specific areas you want to target, they will work with you on that. I went about 4 months after my surgery - I didn't need it for daily function but I wanted to get stronger - I felt weak like you do.

    I wanted to learn how to strengthen my core without compromising my back. He showed me a series of exercises that I would have never figured out on my own. There were a couple where I sat in a chair at a table and pressed my hands down on the table while sucking in my stomach. It's amazing the core muscles you use just to press your hands down on a table! So, there are things out there that are very basic and simple and yet won't compromise your surgery results.

    They have little "tricks of the trade" that can make you work your muscles without hurting your "injured" or "post surgery" areas.

    Kathy
    Decompression surgery L4/L5
    April 3, 2015
    Twin Cities Spine Center - Dr. Joseph Perra
    Fused from T11 - Sacrum anterior/posterior
    June 24, 2016 - 55 years old at surgery
    Twin Cities Spine Center - Dr. Joseph Perra
    Before Surgery: 42 degrees lumbar, 28 degrees thoracic
    After Surgery: 10 degrees lumbar, ?? Thoracic
    2 inches taller

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by KathyInIowa View Post
    you do have to do the work (just like any exercise program).
    That's the single most important factor. Doing exercises in PT is just to learn them. You should plan on figuring out a program with your therapist, that works for you now and in the future. I still do PT exercises almost every day (9 years postop from my last deformity surgery). I should do more, but I know I won't keep up a program unless it's something I can get done in 5-10 minutes a day.
    Never argue with an idiot. They always drag you down to their level, and then they beat you with experience. --Twain
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Surgery 2/10/93 A/P fusion T4-L3
    Surgery 1/20/11 A/P fusion L2-sacrum w/pelvic fixation

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by LindaRacine View Post
    That's the single most important factor. Doing exercises in PT is just to learn them. You should plan on figuring out a program with your therapist, that works for you now and in the future. I still do PT exercises almost every day (9 years postop from my last deformity surgery). I should do more, but I know I won't keep up a program unless it's something I can get done in 5-10 minutes a day.
    It can be hard to keep up PT because you don't have the nice tables and other equipment in your home that you have in the medical facility.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tina_R View Post
    It can be hard to keep up PT because you don't have the nice tables and other equipment in your home that you have in the medical facility.
    Definitely, but a good PT will come up with exercises that fit your environment. Because of knee issues, I have a major difficulty getting up from the floor, so my therapists are always having to modify exercises for me.

    --Linda
    Never argue with an idiot. They always drag you down to their level, and then they beat you with experience. --Twain
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Surgery 2/10/93 A/P fusion T4-L3
    Surgery 1/20/11 A/P fusion L2-sacrum w/pelvic fixation

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tina_R View Post
    It can be hard to keep up PT because you don't have the nice tables and other equipment in your home that you have in the medical facility.
    Like Linda said, they send you home with exercises that can be done in a "normal" home environment. Also, pretty much every physical therapy band that they have me used can be purchased either at their facility or on Amazon and they aren't expensive. They had me doing an exercise using some fancy "physical therapy stick" but they tell you at home you can use a shower curtain rod or a broom.

    They definitely work with patients so they can make progress in their own home environment.

    Kathy
    Decompression surgery L4/L5
    April 3, 2015
    Twin Cities Spine Center - Dr. Joseph Perra
    Fused from T11 - Sacrum anterior/posterior
    June 24, 2016 - 55 years old at surgery
    Twin Cities Spine Center - Dr. Joseph Perra
    Before Surgery: 42 degrees lumbar, 28 degrees thoracic
    After Surgery: 10 degrees lumbar, ?? Thoracic
    2 inches taller

  10. #10
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    Once again my experiences with the medical profession differ from those of others, and I am more critical.

    I'm no stranger to physical therapy, I have been there many times.

    Any exercise performed on one of their nice expensive tables has to be done on a bed or a couch in my home. All beds and couches are too soft and and too low. I'm not going to use the kitchen table, which would be too hard anyway.

    Moreover, where I go, the exercises are prescribed on a sheet of paper via crude line drawings that I get to take home. That's pathetic. In this day and age we should be receiving a video of a therapist performing the exercises.

    But I appreciate your replies.
    Last edited by Tina_R; 09-04-2020 at 11:15 AM.

  11. #11
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    Tina, try looking on You tube....

    Also, if a table is needed, you might want to find one. I have had to buy devices (stretching chairs, arch tables, etc) in the past.

    https://www.amazon.com/Uenjoy-Foldin.../dp/B07CWRPHFD

    $84 seems cheap.

    Ed
    49 yr old male, now 61, the new 61...
    Pre surgery curves T70,L70
    ALIF/PLIF T2-Pelvis 01/29/08, 01/31/08 7" pelvic anchors BMP
    Dr Brett Menmuir St Marys Hospital Reno,Nevada

    Bending and twisting pics after full fusion
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/showt...on.&highlight=

    My x-rays
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...2&d=1228779214

    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...3&d=1228779258

  12. #12
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    Tina,

    I get what you are saying - I got the same sheets with the weird drawings. And, they gave me way more exercises than I was going to do. My PT said, in the end, patients basically figure out the ones they LIKE to do and those are the ones they end up continuing to do.

    I sort of had to laugh at the vision of someone doing PT on their kitchen table, BUT we actually had an extra table in our basement of the house we lived in at the time (it was an unfinished basement of an older home). We strapped one of those camping sleeping pads to the table and it worked for me. At the time, I was unable to be on anything low so my only option was to be up high on a table. I guess I was desperate to make it work.....

    I have joint problems unrelated to my scoliosis - my hands are getting really arthritic and I have shoulder problems (probably from being crooked for many years). There are TONS of videos on YouTube by various physical therapists. There are a couple that I follow and that has helped me a lot with my hands and shoulders.

    Kathy
    Decompression surgery L4/L5
    April 3, 2015
    Twin Cities Spine Center - Dr. Joseph Perra
    Fused from T11 - Sacrum anterior/posterior
    June 24, 2016 - 55 years old at surgery
    Twin Cities Spine Center - Dr. Joseph Perra
    Before Surgery: 42 degrees lumbar, 28 degrees thoracic
    After Surgery: 10 degrees lumbar, ?? Thoracic
    2 inches taller

  13. #13
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    Location
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    Quote Originally Posted by KathyInIowa View Post
    Tina,

    I get what you are saying - I got the same sheets with the weird drawings. And, they gave me way more exercises than I was going to do. My PT said, in the end, patients basically figure out the ones they LIKE to do and those are the ones they end up continuing to do.

    I sort of had to laugh at the vision of someone doing PT on their kitchen table, BUT we actually had an extra table in our basement of the house we lived in at the time (it was an unfinished basement of an older home). We strapped one of those camping sleeping pads to the table and it worked for me. At the time, I was unable to be on anything low so my only option was to be up high on a table. I guess I was desperate to make it work.....

    I have joint problems unrelated to my scoliosis - my hands are getting really arthritic and I have shoulder problems (probably from being crooked for many years). There are TONS of videos on YouTube by various physical therapists. There are a couple that I follow and that has helped me a lot with my hands and shoulders.

    Kathy
    When I start a course of PT, I always tell the therapist to find 3 or fewer exercises that will help. There's no way I'm going to keep up with a bunch of exercises. I want to be able to do something in 5 minutes or less. If it's more, I know I won't keep it up. I have neck exercises that I still do almost every day, more than 30 years since starting them.
    Never argue with an idiot. They always drag you down to their level, and then they beat you with experience. --Twain
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Surgery 2/10/93 A/P fusion T4-L3
    Surgery 1/20/11 A/P fusion L2-sacrum w/pelvic fixation

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