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Back Problems Message Board

Back Problems Board Index

Did your surgeon send you to a particular PT or did you find someone on your own? Sometimes the PT and the surgeon are not really in sync when it comes to how much you should be doing.

What is your PT doing with you? Do you receive treatments aside from exercises and stretches? (ultra-sound, for example)

It is really important to have a PT who is very knowledgeable with orthopedic cases -- or, specifically spine surgery cases. I spent most of the spring with an elderly aunt who had a stroke. I went with her to out-patient PT twice per week, and was quite appalled at what I observed going on with the spine patients. Generally speaking, the PTs had their patients doing too much too least from what I have experienced through 3 surgeries and many, many courses of PT.

As long as you are taking short walks frequently, you can afford to wait on PT. Some spine surgeons don't even recommend it until the patient shows good signs of bone growth and fusion. But you must walk often to keep those spinal nerves stretched out and to keep scar tissue from attaching to the nerves -- very important!!!!

If I were you, I would go to your next appointment and talk to the PT before you begin any treatments. Explain your concerns and give specifics of where you hurt, how long it is lasting, etc. Be detailed so the PT understands your particular situation. If you find something is causing more pain, stop and don't repeat it.

If you think it is all too much, call your surgeon's office and discuss it with them. My surgeon has always pretty much left it up to me. I had a 3 level fusion last June (2010). I started PT in the fall, but I wasn't really able to accomplish much. The easiest exercise would start a flare in the sciatic nerve. So I stopped and just kept walking. I also went to a pool periodically and did some of the easy exercises in the water.

Here it is over a year later, and I am just going back to PT. My fusion is now established and is strong, and the PT feels he can now treat me a bit more aggressively.

Learn to listen to your body. It is better to err on the side of caution when it comes to rehab long as you are walking several times each day...and doing those really gentle stretches you probably were taught while in hospital.

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