View Full Version : Exercise after Spinal Fusion

5th May 2004, 12:06 PM
I am always told that swimming is the best exercise for me because it is low impact. Unfortunately, I can't swim and hate water. :-?

For my exercise, I like to go for fast walks (on the flat) and to take part in 30-40 minute medium level step aerobics classes followed by light weight training/tummy exercises/stretching. Hearing stories here about disc degeneration either side of the fusion is worrying me - am I storing up trouble for later? I haven't any regular back pain so I haven;t had any investigations carried out into the state of my spine, apart from X-Rays.

5th May 2004, 01:19 PM
There are precautions you can take, such as making sure that the aerobics isn't too high impact, and wearing good quality shoes for walking, especially ones with decent impact absorption. It's also important not to push yourself too far, because when tired you're more likely to move heavily and take greater impact as a consequence. And I really don't feel that running is a good choice for someone fused - it's one of those things that is probably ok even for the majority of people with fusion, but you're just not going to know that it wasn't until too late - personally, I don't think the risk is worth it when there are so many other ways to get exercise, despite how much I enjoyed it when I tried to take it up (not that I knew it at the time, my L2-3 disc had already collapsed, so the fun was outweighed by the pain).

Swimming is definitely good, but personally I harbour considerable doubts that it is the best exercise for a fused person. It can be remarkably difficult to swim properly without straining the neck or aggravating the lower back when you are fused rigid, the alternative being to plough through the water at a stupid angle doing a sort of hybrid crawl/doggy paddle - personally I'd far rather use an elliptical machine or a stationary bike for exercise and reserve time in the water for fun and nothing more. Water aerobics is probably an excellent though.

I think as long as you are careful you should be fine - certainly doing exercise and remaining fit has to be better than not doing much. The more you do, the more likely your stomach muscles and low back muscles are to remain strong, which will help protect your lumbar discs anyway :-)

5th May 2004, 01:29 PM
Thanks Titch.
Ah, stomach muscles. :roll: Now that's another topic worth exploring at some stage.

5th May 2004, 01:35 PM
It would take some pretty major exploration to find mine! :oops: :lol:

5th May 2004, 02:11 PM
And mine

I am currently keeping my six pack warm

5th May 2004, 02:55 PM
I've been running a bit (just two miles or so) a couple of times a week since about 2.5 months post op...
Haven't had any real setbacks.
The elliptical machine is a great invention... It's so low impact, I could even use it while healing up stress fractures in my legs without it hurting much.

Swimming really was a killer for me... My back felt alright, but my neck got so incredibly stiff and sore.
Stomach muscles???? We don't need no steenking stomach muscles.
(Or at least don't have them.... ;-) ) Mine aren't that bad. They're just hidden under a layer of..... Fluff. Yes. Fluff. I think i would be quite ripped if I could just drop twenty pounds or so.

I can almost do situps! :-D

5th May 2004, 05:00 PM
At my last consultant appointment, the diagnosis was middle age and the treatment??
Join a gym !:bounce:
I agree with Titch, doing exercise and remaining fit is the better option.
I don't swim as my scoliosis is too severe to get away with a swimsuit.
I intend to get my abdominal muscles toned up as these are the ones which support the lumbar spine.I started using one of those abdominal toning belts(slendertone).It's ok for me as I do not have metalwork in my body and I've joined weightwatchers and have 22 Lbs to lose......then I plan to regain my fitness by walking and cycling.If I don't do it now I never will..........

5th May 2004, 05:24 PM
I joined a gym but i cannot seem to get past the sauna and steam room

Tried the weights but they were too heavy :-D ,Tried the running machine but i suffer from shin splints,Tried the rowing machine but my back hurts for days after using that and the cycles are just plain boring

Play football once a week for an hour and go for the occasional walk and camping expedition thats about it for exercise and even that gets harder as years pass.

5th May 2004, 06:18 PM
Those cycle machines are boring, unless there's little TVs to watch while peddling to nowhere :-D I prefer normal bikes, outdoors and all.

I prefer swimming, mind you I ain't done it in over 12 months :oops:

5th May 2004, 06:21 PM
Yes Sins, I was once told by someone who happened to work with Slendertone that I would probably get a shock if I were to use one, with metal in my back. :-o :shock:

5th May 2004, 11:51 PM
I love swimming. But I think that that is what aggravates my leg pain. My leg was fine until i tried to go swimmng at Thanksgiving. Then it was getting better and the minute I started swimming at Disney World it came back. Hopefully that won't happen anymore this summer. I can't wait to go swimming!

I am one of the laziest people ever, so I don't do aerobic workouts other than climbing up and down the satirs at school nonstop all day. I do do crunches and pushups though. I can't do situps any more. In the summer I get more excersise. Walking around the mlal can get you a lot of exercise! ;-)

6th May 2004, 12:12 AM
Almost as much as walking all the way to Mcdonalds!

6th May 2004, 02:00 AM
absolutely! you understand me so well. ;-)

6th May 2004, 02:14 AM
Gah. Exercise schmexercise. None for me, thanks.

My cousin gave me the nickname "anchor" because I don't float, so swimming is kind of out. And I have severely reduced lung capacity, so my normal daily routine is an aerobic workout for me.

6th May 2004, 01:31 PM
Originally posted by Pauline@May 5 2004, 04:21 PM
Yes Sins, I was once told by someone who happened to work with Slendertone that I would probably get a shock if I were to use one, with metal in my back. :-o :shock:

Yikes! I've got a Slendertone....I haven't used it for ages cos I couldnt be bothered to bring it with me on my travels for work. I never got a shock from it, though I have tons of metal in my back....hope there wasn't a real risk there!!! :shock:

I've decided to make a real effort to sort my health and fitness out! I started this week. I've eaten veggie food all week, have had salad where I normally eat chips, apples instead of crisps, and gallons and gallons of water instead of my usual diet-coke habit (I used to drink 4 cans a day). I'm also taking Vitamin pills and am going walking in the Peak District so I get some exercise! I feel tons better already, it's great :D

6th May 2004, 01:44 PM
The "summer body" phenomenon! ---^ :D :niceone:

Yesterday evening my flatmate Sarah was constantly asking if I didn't want to join her to her weekly gymnastics training! :nutter:

But I should do more sports. I only play tennis (outdoor) in the weekends when the weather is good enough. 8)

6th May 2004, 03:32 PM
Originally posted by Blair@May 5 2004, 07:55 AM
I've been running a bit (just two miles or so) a couple of times a week since about 2.5 months post op...

Thanks for starting this post pauline!!! I was about to post the same question. I've heard the same things about swmming.. but I really do not enjoy it... :-?

And blair.. wow.. that is all I have to say. My Doctor told me no heavy running until 6months-1year post-op. I don't think I even could if I tried! I was still moping around the house taking pain meds 2.5 months post op. :-o

I can't do sit ups... crunches bother my back.. The excercises I enjoy the most are lifting light weights, and using the stationary bike... (not so bad if there is a TV to watch as you go ;) )

I really almost never excercise though... I need to do so more often...

6th May 2004, 04:02 PM
As the doctors say swimming is good as exercises but my back think not the same way either. I only get more pain while swimming properly and I don't like dog paddling or playing in the water only.
I do a lot of exercises a week that's approximately 9 hours/week. Mostly inline skating but also in the gym including rowing, the elliptical machine and even a lot of the boring cycling luckily we have tv in front of us. :-)
All this to improve my condition needed for the races I do on skates, definitely not a back-friendly occupation.
I have no spinal fusion so I don't know if I'm damaging my body while doing so much sports. Maybe I should do less intensive exercises to saving my back a bit? :-?

8th May 2004, 02:53 AM
i am going to start swimming on sunday, they have this special class at my pool. I cant wait! i just hate going alone, any one wanna come? just kidding

8th May 2004, 08:25 AM
I've found a great exercise for my arms , it involves the lifting of a glass from a flat surface about or slighly below chest height . The glass should be pint size full with fluid , I use lager . You then pick up the glass and bending the arm at the elbow move the glass to your mouth , I repeat this exercise until the glass is empty . I'm getting really good at it , last night I exercised for hours . :pint:

8th May 2004, 09:24 AM
Pikey! That sounds like quite a workout. Does it leave you with slurred speech and dizzy when you're done?

8th May 2004, 10:37 AM
yes and a bit heady the day after but " no pain ,no gain" .

8th May 2004, 11:01 AM
You're a real trooper, Pikey. *grin*

9th May 2004, 12:28 AM
LOL Tim!!!!! :rofl:

10th May 2004, 01:45 PM
My preference when it comes to gymnastics is not the triple salco its the left handed Stella Artois on the balance beam (the bar)