Rehab for fractured spine

Discussion in 'Physical Training For Mountain Hunting And Backpac' started by Boar Barrel, May 1, 2017.

  1. Boar Barrel

    Boar Barrel Member

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    I somehow, I'm not sure when or how, fractured my spine. I had a spinal fusion of my L4 and L5 about a year and a half ago. The doctor said the type of fracture I had could have happened about 25 years ago and that scar tissue kept the spine stable until in the last few years it started thinning out allowing the spine to shift and pinch my sciatic nerve causing extreme pain in my lower back and right leg.

    So it was recommended by 3 different doctors to have a spinal fusion. I had the surgery at the end of December 2015. Because of the extensive nerve damage done in took more than six months to recover and I am still having some problems. My core strength weakened a lot and my ability to endure long periods of discomfort from walking and climbing have dwindled.

    So I have decided to focus on strengthening my core and building my endurance back up. I want to do this in a way that builds my strength and endurance back to the levels I had before the surgery and to help build up my strength up over all so I can try to prevent sustaining another injury like the one I had that caused my spine to be injured.

    My goal is to be able to go on long range back packing and hunting trips again. I am 42 and have a small son who I want to pass the tradition of hunting and practicing survival on my family's property in the hills and mountains in East Tennessee.

    Can anyone recommend any exercises or routines that can help me accomplish my goals. Also as a result of the long period of inactivity after my surgery my right shoulder froze up and for the last year has had limited mobility. I have made progress with it and by this past deer season was able to climb the hills and hunt but I still have slight pain and I am not one that likes to take drugs for every little ache and pain.

    Thanks and any suggestions would be appreciated.
     
  2. jaeger19

    jaeger19 Well-Known Member

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    Because of your medical complexity i would recommend you be referred to physical therapy. A good therapist can give you the best treatment plan tailored for your goals and medical problems.
     
  3. Bullet bumper

    Bullet bumper Well-Known Member

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    Mate I would recommend you go to a specialist rehab person if possible recommended by your Doctor not just your local physio therapist . Definitely no chiropractors and no neck manipulation at all . You don't want someone over doing it and re-injuring you.
    If you have any weight on you especially around the belly get it off by diet as soon as possible and stay slim as that will help your back and sciatica a lot .
    Sciatica is nerve based thing and once the nerves get inflamed more exercise can make it worse not better . As soon as you get sciatica use a walking stick straight away on that side to take the pressure off the nerve . This way it will settle down quicker . If you battle on limping along without support it can flare up so bad you can go down crippled and unable to even walk . Hopefully yours is not that bad but I have seen a person unable to stand or walk after a sudden sciatica attack . Buy two collapsible trekking poles like Leki or Petzl , and put them in your back pack for emergency assistance .
    You also need to be assessed for osteoporosis to see if calcium is leaching from your bones as back bones are the common ones to break with osteoporosis . Calcium supplements could be required .
    Don't adopt the no pain no gain attitude because you could just break more bones.
    Follow professional advice and go steady at first building up strength slowly .
    You may have to back off some of the things you have always done for a while until you are sure you a fine to do it .
     
  4. BallisticsGuy

    BallisticsGuy Well-Known Member

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    My dad had the same fusion. You'll have lost a great deal of flexibility along with the strength. It's going to be a long road back. Pop never fully recovered because he was stubborn and willful but he got most of the way back. Ma was an nurse for an orthopedic surgeon which was probably the only reason he ever walked again.

    My advice based on Dad's experience, stay positive, stay driven, don't run before you can walk. Work with your therapists and doctors. The guys above are right. This is no joke but it's not something you won't be able to get back almost all the way from. Just don't expect all the way. Heck even after just rebuilding my shoulders and knees I know there are some tighter limits on the stuff I can do.

    Definitely, if you're carrying a tire on the belly, get rid of it. That alone was the difference year to year in my Dad and I getting in 9 holes of golf and him being in bed for 3 days and getting in 18 holes and going fishing the next day.

    Good luck!
     
  5. HARPERC

    HARPERC Well-Known Member

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    Absolutely! It will save you in the long run, I'd also look for one with a connection to a personal trainer to continue with.

    Consider it a lifestyle change, and be patient.
     
  6. Jerry M

    Jerry M Well-Known Member

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    ^
    this
     
  7. FEENIX

    FEENIX Well-Known Member

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    lightbulbYep, it don't get no simpler and safer than that! lightbulb
     
  8. highplains

    highplains Well-Known Member

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    I am a spine surgeon. For the most part, I agree with all the above information. The most important thing is to remember that your ultimate recovery will be lengthy, and there is no short cuts. "No pain, no gain" really does not apply to recovering from a spinal fusion. Its best to approach rehab in phases. First, restore/maintain flexibility. Second, restore core strength. Third, restore endurance/strength. Depending upon a person's pre-op condition, the first 2 phases may take 6 months alone. The better condition you are prior to surgery, the faster your recovery will be. Restoring endurance and strength required for backpack hunting will take several more months. Remember, the healing of a spinal fusion takes at least 3 months, and there is no way to speed the process up. However, once healed and rehabbed you should be good to go.
     
  9. Bullet bumper

    Bullet bumper Well-Known Member

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    I don't think you read correctly DR , I said . " Don't adopt the no pain no gain attitude because you could just break more bones "
     
  10. Boar Barrel

    Boar Barrel Member

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    The thing is I never had any physical therapy after the surgery. The doctor didn't prescribe it and said I really didn't need it. I now wish maybe I had gone to a different doctor but he is the same surgeon that many of the the local colleges use and the professional sports teams around here use. My recovery was long and hard and I was out of work for 6 months and ultimately lost my job cause they hired someone else that they kindly let me train once I got back to work.

    I am a disable veteran and have medical benefits that I use and I have made an appointment to see a VA doctor on June 1st. Luckily my VA hospital is partnered up with Vanderbilt University Hospital here in Nashville so I expect the level of care to be pretty good. One of the doctors I saw to get a second opinion on the surgery was at Vanderbilt. So I am pretty confident I will get everything sorted out and will be climbing the East Tennessee hills again.
     
  11. Bullet bumper

    Bullet bumper Well-Known Member

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    Your doctor was possibly trying to avoid breaking more bones if the therapy was too severe . At this stage he is just trying to get you well I reckon. I am a Veteran also I know your pain . Have you been assessed for osteoporosis ? That is a major potential factor in why your bones might break without an accident of some kind . The VA hospital should steer you right .

    If you have no problems with kidney stones based on calcium then I would suggest you start taking calcium tablets to strengthen up the bone mass . A second medical opinion is always a good idea so find another doctor and see what they say . Surgeons can only go so far in treatment once you are off the operating table and you may need another kind of Doctor say a Specialist Physician that can take a whole of body approach to your recovery treatment . The VA hospital should steer you right .
     
  12. feelinducky

    feelinducky Well-Known Member

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    I totally disagree with the no chiropractor approach, without knowing the extent of your surgery no one can make a statement like that. Find a good one and they will give you an honest opinion if they can help you or not. I am a chiropractor and have treated, and currently treat many post surgical people with great results but, only after I have completed and evaluation of their case and full exam. Chiropractic has helped many people pre and post surgical. You can PM me and I'll help you find a good one in your area.
     
  13. Bullet bumper

    Bullet bumper Well-Known Member

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    No chiropractor as a first treatment option . If he is recommended to one after specialist assessment then ok but not just pick one out of the phone book and go .
    Some are good and some are bad .
     
  14. feelinducky

    feelinducky Well-Known Member

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    Find a good chiropractor and you will be more than happy.