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post op after surgery

Hi everyone, I had my surgery discectomy L5 S1 on January 22nd.  I have been feeling well.  Saw the doctor on February 6th no pain things were good.  On Friday I started PT on the 9th.  The exercises were simple. The PT said I may be sore.  I wasn't sore on Saturday but felt pain behind my left leg again not to bad but I knew it was there.  I did the at home exercises she gave me Saturday and Sunday.  Sunday night last night the pain was a bit worse.  I took a pain med last night which I have been off the pain meds for awhile.  Did I start PT to early the doctor said to start so I did.  I am so scared.  This is how it all started 3 months ago which led to the surgery.   I know its only been3 weeks since the surgery  and to be patience but I just wonder if it was to soon to start PT.  I am going to call the doctor today.  I am supposed to have PT today and I am going to talk to her.  Just looking for some guidance.  I do not want to do this all again. Thank you.



  • challengercchallenger Posts: 1,253
    edited 07/12/2019 - 10:10 AM

    In my experience, PT can create discomfort in muscles and nerves but the motions are designed to help strengthen muscles. I agree that you should report this to your doctor and therapist, better safe than sorry.

    Veritas-Health Moderator

  • My neurosurgeon said I would not be starting PT until the 6 week mark...starting PT at 3 weeks post op seems very early.  I am also 3 weeks post op from a l5-s1 fusion.

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  • dilauroddilauro ConnecticutPosts: 12,609

    Various surgeons and various surgeries will have different start points for Physical Therapy.   

    Start of Physical Therapy after my surgeries:

    Total Shoulder Replacements - Immediately
    Total Hip Replacements - 1 week 
    For my lumbar surgeries (all none fusion) 3 weeks 
    For my ACDF surgeries -3 weeks
    Achilles Tendon reconstructive surgery - 5 weeks

    As challenger stated, Physical Therapy is designed to improve the area in which your surgery was done.  Any surgery is an invasion of your body, so parts need to be reconditioned.   One of the most important is not to allow scar tissue to build.   I've been told by several surgeons that working on scar tissue is key,  After 6 months its very difficult to make changes and for the most  part after 12 months is  virtually impossible.

    Initial Physical Therapy can be tough.  It sometimes takes several weeks to start seeing improvements.  Its amazing to hear how many people after a couple of sessions want to stop it because of the increased pain levels.

    For some details, take a look at  All you need to know about Physical Therapy

  • I am going into 4 weeks post- surgery for ALIF and PLIF spinal fusion. My neurosurgeon doesn't have me starting PT until after I see him at roughly 6 weeks.  I am doing in home PT learning how to do isometric exercises, having assistance with walking, etc.  But the more intense PT will come at 6-8 weeks 

  • Thank you. The therapist said that what I was experiencing was normal. She took it slow with me. The doctor said I could stop and eat if I wanted to but I’m going to keep going and just know my limitations. I have been going slow and resting when I need too. I have 3 more weeks before I have to go back to work. So I want to get stronger but stay smart. Thanks I will keep you posted. The pain has subsided a bit so that’s good news!! 

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  • Joel1QJJoel1Q Posts: 332
    edited 02/14/2019 - 3:03 AM

    That’s really key-take it slow. Know your limits but if you used to be at x level preop then expect x-some level for a long time before you get back to x.   Your body is healing, Going too fast, overdoing it just causes healing setbacks.  It’s vital with fusions also. Slow and steady really wins the race.  

    L3-S1 ALIF Feb 2018 and 

    L3-S1 PLIF Laminectomy and Fusion March 2018

  • Joel1QJJoel1Q Posts: 332
    edited 02/18/2019 - 11:32 PM

    The doctor said I could stop and eat if I wanted to but I’m going to keep going 

    I’m just curious why the doctor could say you could ‘stop and eat’ 

    I had such a hard time starting PT after my 3 level ALIF/PLIF due to insurance. I still don’t know why I was not allowed to start full in office PT for 3 months.  I did have the home PT which was good when I finally found a good PT. The first in home one was not productive, but I made the mistake of thinking the isometric and other basic exercises were so easily done, I did more, and THAT set me back.  More walking, more stretching. I now listen and only do what I’m told by my PT-  even 8 months later.  

    L3-S1 ALIF Feb 2018 and 

    L3-S1 PLIF Laminectomy and Fusion March 2018

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