What gear helps you?

OcinesOcines Posts: 35
edited 02/22/2018 - 12:44 AM in Exercise and Rehab

Hey there all, 

Life got away from me after relocating and I haven't been here for awhile and admittedly haven't been doing what is best for my back since I moved. I had a laminectomy and discectomy on L4 and L5 on 2/17/17. I reherniated L4 in May but got through it with a lot of work.

I have been slowly trying to stretch again and strengthen. I have started working with resistance bands at home and will be starting with my exercise ball again. 

I love to hike and that seems OK on my back with my hiking boots. However when I tried to take a long, steady walk in sneakers on pavement I noticed immediate pain and three days later I'm having nerve pain radiating through my leg, foot, and toes. I'm thinking it must be the shoes. 

My question for you guys; what walking shoes did you find most helpful (especially if you have tightened and shortened hip flexors). And what equipment/moves do you find most helpful at home? Do you wear anything to help you keep your posture? 

Cheers all!




  • I've had the challenge of long-term Plantar Fasciitis, so I've been around the block with shoes, orthotics, etc.

    If you have a good shoe store near you, I would recommend that. By "good" I mean staff who can help fit you for your particular needs.

    They will watch you walk and determine if you are a pronator, supinator, etc. If not, then maybe a PT can help determine what would be best.

    My back and feet also feel better walking on dirt rather than pavement. 

    As far as posture- keep your core strong!  Wearing something (other than a corset after surgery) would weaken your abdominal muscles. I am practicing contracting and holding in my abs while walking.

    Hope this is helpful.

  • Hi Ocines 
    It is great your surgery helped that is always great to read. 
    Shoes I get you there they sure do effect how we feel  I have spent so much money on shoes that just added to the problems. I was you before investing any money I would make an apt. with a foot doctor or do you have a doctor there where you live? They would be the ones I would run both the shoes and exercises by cause you would not want to do anything to cause problems or add to what you have going on now. 
    Take care Sherri

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  • OcinesOcines Posts: 35
    edited 02/22/2018 - 3:26 PM

    @steffie  What exercises have you noticed that seem easiest on your back but work the whole core? Before my surgery I had a very strong core and it's obviously not so much now. I do bridges and will be doing "sit-ups" on my exercise ball as learned in PT. Most of it seems to target the lower core and not really upper or my sides.   Glad to hear that I'm not just crazy thinking the dirt didn't bug me; I can hike for 5+ miles with no sciatic pain but that short stint on a sidewalk is still hurting days later. 

    @Hope3 Thank you! It's definitely all about taking care after the fact, I still find myself sitting wrong at my desk or trying to sleep in terrible positions. I just don't want another surgery ever again. I don't really have access to a foot doctor, but I am going to look around for shoe stores where they watch your posture and do some research. I am also meeting with a neurosurgeon again to do an assessment again. 

    Thanks guys!  :)

  • Ocines:

    When I do sit-ups on the ball I DO feel it in my upper abs. I cannot do it w/o using my hands supporting my neck (some issues going on in my neck & shoulders).  I make sure and relax my head as best I can, and look at a spot up and a little bit behind straight up. I focus and slowly contracting my upper abs. I'm not yet able to work obliques (due to BLT restrictions).

    The other exercises that I'm working on are stability focused. A strong core is stable.  Try contracting your upper & lower abs and slowly lifting your feet one at a time off the ball (a march). The ball shouldn't move. There are a lot of stability exercises, that's just one that I do.

    Disclaimer:  I am not an exercise physiologist or expert in this field...just someone who's exercised for years and is trying to get back to an active life!  I had a full lumbar fusion and am trying to take it slowly :)

  • nz1025nnz1025 Posts: 190
    edited 02/22/2018 - 11:05 PM

    i had a neck fusion over 1.5 yrs ago, but am still seeing a physio. he has given me a lot of core exercises that are safe for my whole spine (i have some other issues in my back too). can you go to a physio? everybody is different, so you want to make sure any exercises are appropriate for you, target the right areas and wont aggravate any issues... i only check in with my physio every few months now to update exercises.  i do about an hour of exercises 2 or 3 times a week and it has made a huge difference. good luck!

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  • @steffie I think I may be giving up a little too soon with my abs, or I'm arching again. Stability was what I was working on in PT, I will definitely get back to doing those. :) I am in the weird spot of wanting to get back that I was doing long before the injury and being too afraid to do anything that could make my back arch. I think I have also been sort of forgetting /neglecting to contract my entire core which might be why I'm only feeling it in some spots. Even after seeing a physio did you still find yourself sort of afraid to continue at home? 

    @nz1025 I had one for two months, but I've relocated and don't have access to that group any more. I've been sort of reluctant to start all over again with a new one, mostly because of the costs. When I left I had essentially been cleared to do any exercises that don't lift over head or cause torque. Of course also to pay attention to not let my back arch. It's kind of a relief to hear that other people are still getting checked that far out - I'll poke around and see what my insurance covers and see what steps I would need to take. Thank you! :) 

    Side note in general to my post that I am not looking for anyone to advise me; just like to hear what others are doing. :) I have gotten pretty good at listening to my body but, learning about what helps other people is really helpful to add to my knowledge pool. Thanks everyone! 

    I will be digging my pump out of the garage this weekend to get my ball aired up. 

  • Ocines,

    Here's a suggestion:  Try practicing contracting your core OTHER than when formally doing your exercises.  I contract on and off while walking (hold for a few seconds, then release). I think it will become second nature. It will be a lifelong practice for me- I need to have a strong core to assist this fused spine.

    Regarding what I learn at PT and do at home:  I am a very compliant patient :)  I do what I learn at PT 2x daily at home.  However, recently I was given two exercises that didn't feel right for my healing back. In that case, I didn't do them and my PT put them on hold.

    I try to differentiate the sensations in my body: the "this is a weak muscle, but it feels good to use it" vs. that doesn't feel right- too painful! 

    Let me know if this makes sense to you...

  • Hey @steffie

    Yeah it definitely does. I have been working on contracting more at my desk at work, I find I remember to contract and stand straight while at home but as the day goes on I find myself slouching at work. I will be getting a sit stand again soon, which should hopefully help.

    I just signed up for a "gentle yoga" workshop for people recovering from back injuries which focuses on core strength and stretches - I am really looking forward to it. 

    I also did some of my PT exercises again on my ball last night, I really think having just stopped doing what I was supposed to do for so long (2 months without exercising after my move) made me apprehensive and nervous because everything was so tight again. Here's to hoping I'll get back into the swing. 

  • i agree with @steffie about listening to your body. ive had a few exercises ive had to get the physio to adjust or find an alternate for. 

    i also do the contracting my core thing too. i did pilates for a few years before surgery (with an individualised programme at my physio place) - so i try to position my hips properly while walking (putting my hips in position engages most of my core muscles). i just do this constantly while walking. it was a bit weird a first, but i do it without realising now and its really helped my imbalanced hips. (i got the physio to check my posture too)

    @ocines hopefully you will be able to get physio on insurance (im in nz and mine was an accident, so my physio is subsidised). but if you are cleared then already then hopefully the yoga and getting back to your physio exercises will help enough...  you could be right about posture influencing where you feel exercises - but maybe you also need a bigger range of exercises. 

    good luck everyone!

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