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How much walking after L5-S1 fusion?

Hello everyone, 

I am 19 days since my L5-S1 fusion surgery.  My back hurts.  I've been able to go on .15 of a mile walk a few times a day.  I have built up my duration of standing/walking around the house from 10 minutes to 30-60 minutes at a time.  Then my back hurts. I then immediately lay down an ice my back. I ice my back 6-8 times a day for 25 minutes each time.  I've been lying down all day and feel as I am not doing the right thing.   I feel as if I should be walking a mile or two a day by now because I read about others making it to that threshold.  

I am afraid I am falling behind.  Anyone have any input from their experience about walking after lumbar fusion surgery?

Thank you




  • Thank you chip.  That makes a lot of sense.

  • Your fusion will heal stronger and faster the more you are upright.  It's a principle in medicine called Wolf's Law.  Bone grows stronger when it's under the stress of gravity.  So, even though you may not be able to tolerate walking, try to stand as much as you can.  I would certainly call your doctor if you are having so much pain that you must lay down for long periods of time. 

    You are doing the right thing by listening to your body!  But, just be sure to keep your doctor in the loop!

    Several Epidurals, L4-S1 360 ALIF, Numerous Facet Joint Injections, RFA x2
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  • Very good to know.  Thank you for your post.  It helps.

  • Jerome001Jerome001 Cocoa Beach, FloridaPosts: 383

    Sounds like you are listening to your body which I believe is most important. My surgeon said walk when you can based upon your tolerance. I try to move around frequently though I spend most of my days on the couch I try to remember to get up and walk around the house. Take it easy on yourself; healing is definitely not a race but it is a time for patience. I have learned that through experience - went back to work too soon, tried to act like normal (whatever that is :) ) so now I know I have to take care of myself to heal properly. Then, after healing, you still have to look after yourself and make sure you don't over do it. Good luck! Jerome


    This might sound pretty basic to everyone else, but I am finding out 3-4 .50-.60 mile walks per day is much better on my back than two 1-1.25 mile walks.  


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  • vegas

    That is what I found also, it is not about the distance, it is about keeping yourself moving.


    Veritas-Health Moderator

  • I would do several short walks as opposed to fewer long walks.  Moving is better for you than being still.  And remember you are still very early in recovery.  

    10 level fusion T9 - S1 with pelvic fixation. Two titanium rods, 24 screws, 4 cages.

    Firm believer in PMA

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