Has anyone ever done yoga after spinal fusion surgery

There are often many questions about Yin Yoga and specific spinal conditions. Feel free to ask your question here, or check out other posts or contribute input from your own experience.
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kimberlydearth47
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Jan 14, 2019 6:45 am

Has anyone ever done yoga after spinal fusion surgery

Post by kimberlydearth47 »

I had spinal fusion surgery with rods and screws and a discectomy on L5-S1 ( lower back). I know that this type of surgery takes a while to recover. I had my surgery on December 18th and I still can't lift over 5lbs, still walking with a walker and still can't bend, lift, or twist. I was told by several people that I won't be able to lift 30 pounds until I am 6 months post op! This is scary for me in so many ways. Right now I am out on medical leave at work. My job description requires me to at least be able to lift 50 pounds and under. At this point I am not sure when that will be. I would like to start slowly doing some yoga. Has anyone else ever had this type of surgery and if so when did you start doing yoga again? That is if you did.
Kimberly Dearth
Bernie
Posts: 1152
Joined: Sat Sep 23, 2006 2:25 am
Location: Vancouver

Post by Bernie »

Hi Kimberly

I also look forward to hearing from anyone with spinal fusion. I have no personal experience with the procedure, but have a friend who just had a similar operation. She is taking things very slow. As always, it is best to follow the advice of your physical therapist. Every body is different, so you will have to experiment, pay attention, and see how it goes for you.

I did write an article a while ago on back pain. it doesn't strictly apply to your case, but the yin yoga flow there might be worth trying once you get the okay from your health team. Obviously your range of motion will be restricted, so now is not the time to try to gain lots of mobility. Strengthening is more important (check out Stu McGill's Big 3 exercises for good ways to do that. I discuss them in my recent book Your Spine, Your Yoga).

Good luck, and let us know how it goes!
Bernie
kimberlydearth47
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Jan 14, 2019 6:45 am

Spine issues

Post by kimberlydearth47 »

Wow! Bernie, I feel so special that you are the one who responded to my question. I will definitely ask my physical therapist once I am able to get one. Hopefully my surgeon will prescribe it when I go back to see him on January 23rd. It is a very long and slow recovery process. I won't be able to lift more than 10 pounds when I go back on the 23rd. I am so hoping I will be able to do away with the walker after that appointment. Unfortunately it seems like it will be a while before I can go back to work. I have to be able to at least lift 50 pounds at my job. It's a very physically demanding job. I have to stand on a concrete floor for 10 hours a night. So I really want to build up my strength before I go back. I feel yoga is the best way to do that! Thank you for your input and I will definitely check out your book. Have a blessed day!
Kimberly Dearth
vanilla_angel171
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Dec 01, 2019 12:19 pm

Spinal Fusion and yoga

Post by vanilla_angel171 »

I went through a lengthy registration process to reply to you so I hope you see this.
I also have spinal fusion C3-L3 so essentially my whole spine. I do yoga but I do not attempt to bend it. Arching the back and what not. Strengthening the muscles is most important as some muscles will become dormant. I personally find it extremely tough to lay on my back for any given time and a lot of yoga moves require this. I simply raise my hand and asked for modifications when I first started. Once you learn moves and learn your body it all becomes relatively easy to do.
But never do something that causes the wrong type of discomfort or pain. You'll know when your spine shouldn't be moving a certain way and you need to listen to your body.
I hope you have fun in your journey through yoga after spinal fusion. My best advice to you is to focus on strengthening the muscles and do not skimp out on exercises given to you by a physiotherapist.
I had my spine fused when I was 16. I am now 28. At that young age I did not take recovery seriously. I now have the back of an 80year old, no exaggeration. This is even what my doctor tells me. So learn from my mistakes and take strengthening seriously. Repair your muscles before they heal improperly
Bernie
Posts: 1152
Joined: Sat Sep 23, 2006 2:25 am
Location: Vancouver

Post by Bernie »

Thanks for sharing your experience! Very interesting. Yoga obviously won't give you back your 16 year-old spine, but hopefully it will keep you living to your best potential.

Cheers
melaniestaker
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Apr 30, 2019 12:32 am
Location: cherryville bc

Post by melaniestaker »

Im 65 years old and have had a cervical spinal fusion, since my early thirties.
I did vinyasa style yoga for years and for the last 8 years, more concentration of yin, including training with Bernie in person and with Paul Grilley on line.

I don't love to bend my neck backwards for long but the fusion has not stopped me from much except painting ceilings! ha
Twists and head supported in my hands for Sphynx pose are fine and nourishing to the tissues.
I regularly practice the neuro-mobilization (spinal flossing) that Bernie and Stewart McGill teach as an aid as well.
Bernie
Posts: 1152
Joined: Sat Sep 23, 2006 2:25 am
Location: Vancouver

Post by Bernie »

Thanks for sharing, Melanie
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