Going in for a back fusion tomorrow for lumbar l4 l5. Surgeon says that unless I cut down on my heavy activity levels I will be back in again in a few years. Anyone boat with a fused back? How does it feel? Any problems? I don't think I can ever give it up.
Also curious about the responses. For those of you with a broken back, at what point do you make the decision that getting it fused is better than dealing with constant popping, weirdness, and occasional pain?
Not a break of the vertebrae, but a totally trashed disc, bone to bone. I can get it to feel ok minus some uncomfortable nerve pains, feelings, if I don't do anything, but as soon I get active it goes downhill fast. Hard decision to make, but I guess you have to slow down somewhat as you get older (43). I am changing jobs from a contractor to sales in hopes I can get some more play time out of the body instead of trashing it at work! Injuries suck!!!!!
1 Achilles tear straight through
Previous back surgury
I had an l5-s1 fusion 2 years ago. I still ski, paddle, hike, bicycle, and do just about anything I want. I have cut back on things that involve impact. I don't run anymore or play basketball or volleyball. I still get to do a lot of good stuff. My surgeon has told me I can do anything I want. I choose to keep the impact lower to try and not go back under the knife. That being said the possibility of adjacent segment breakdown is not a proven fact. There are surgeons who think your adjacent discs will break down and those that don't. The decision to have surgery is a tough one. The recovery is long and difficult. It is life changing. Good luck with your decision. If you want to talk more specifically about it feel free to contact me directly. I know it was easier to discuss this issue with someone who actually has gone through it.
Thanks for the heads up, I sure hope I can get back to things I enjoy most. Glad to here you are doing well after surgury. I am sure that I have a good surgeon, but he did put the fear in me for future surgeries. Planning for the worst, hoping for the best!
One last piece of advice. Take your recovery as it comes. Don't push it. Get with a good Physical Therapy provider and work you core constantly. This should help you progress. They say it takes up to 2 years for a full recovery. I was released to do most stuff at about 6 months. I paddled after about 4 months and skied the next winter after about 10 months. Each case is different, listen to your body and it will tell you where you are.
The majority of my spine has been fused for the past 10 years (although I've only been boating for the last two). I don't know the specific vertebrae but the rod must be at least 10 inches long. Mine was to treat severe scoliosis rather than any sort of injury and my parents made the choice for me. Rather barbaric solution eh? Let's straighten her spine by fusing the whole thing to a metal rod! But I digress...
Anyway, I'd be happy to chat with you or give you specifics if you'd like to PM me... Best of luck to you! I don't think you'll have to give up paddling! I certainly never will and mine is pretty drastic, though it does affect me in some ways.
Good luck to you and let me know if you have any questions or want to talk.
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