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Walking After Back Surgery

LumbarLynneLLumbarLynne Posts: 67
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:32 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
My doctor told me to walk after surgery. I started one week post op and my goal is to walk every day. Sometimes it is around the neighborhood but I try to use the treadmill at the Gym so that I can monitor how much walking I do.

Day 1 (1 week post op) - Monday - .25 mile
Day 2 - .5 miles + .25 miles in evening
Day 3 - .5 miles

I was wondering what schedule others are on? How often do you walk? How soon after surgery did you start? How soon were you able to increase the amounts? Has it helped with any weight loss (which would be a nice side benefit to my self-imposed PT walking program).



  • my spinal fusion was 4 months ago. For about the last 6 weeks I have been taking a neighborhood walk about 5 days a week. I walk for 30 minutes but find that now my 30 minutes gets me a lot farther than when I first started out. I go mid morning before it gets hot and also that is the time of day I feel the best. My surgeon urged me to walk. My physical therapist is glad that I am walking but told me if I have a day where I don't feel strong enough or up to it, to stay in and not push myself. I think it really helps me in many ways. It proves to myself that I am recovering. It's something I can do to help myself - by myself. I was always an early morning walker but the year before surgery I hurt too much to walk. I really have a feeling of accomplishment and pride in myself when I get home from walking.

    For my husband's sake - I call my neighbor when I leave and when I get home. He still worries that I will fall or that I will get too tired and won't feel like walking back. I don't think it's necessary but in a way, it's not a bad idea to let someone know
    you are going off by yourself. I know I am stronger for walking. My therapist is working on getting my legs stronger and tells me this is going to help me.

  • Thanks for the input, I am 2 weeks post-op and I have been walking around the house. I go see the Dr. tomorrow, I have a few questions for him. This was one of them. I am gun shy I guess you would say, I worry about falling, or moving a way I'm not suppose to.

    I think a good walk outside would help me in many way. Don't know how far I will make it but I would like to try.

    Good Luck with your walking,
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  • I too would stick to walking in neighborhood instead of a treadmill. I had been walking with no problems on road...was up to .68 mi little over a week after surgery but Monday I used a treadmill...only walked at 2.2mph, and was miserable afterwards. It's seemed to be too bouncy and jarring and for the first time the old pain started flairing up again so it's back to the road for me. On the bright side I have gotten a great new pair of sneakers out of it :) Good luck and I know it is hard but remember...SLOW and steady really does win this race.
  • I walk 3 times a day and have from the time I got home from hospital (was there 4 days). Though I was a total "gym rat" before the surgery, I now only walk in the neighborhood. At first, I kept away from going up and down curbs, only flat surfaces and pretty slow. Now I do everything and it is a great way to meet your neighbors!

    Just keep expanding your distance a little bit each day. I was in a brace for 4 months, so I was more limited. I am now at 5-6 miles a day. I was in good health before, but in many ways even better now. Just keep moving...
  • I much prefer the treadmill:

    1. You can always walk. No days lost to bad weather.
    2. Less chance of falling. I had balance issues after surgery for a while. The treadmill gave me a feeling of security.
    3. Both my surgeon and my PT were fine with it. Every PT group practice office I've ever been in has at least one treadmill; often several.

    Daily walking after surgery is really important to recovery. My surgeon starts his patients with a mile a day, from the day after surgery. (The mile can be broken into multiple shorter segments if needed.)

    Best wishes for a quick recovery!
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  • My ortho wouldnt let me do treadmill. You can trip or slip on them easier and then it is going and you get hurt worse. He said better to walk in house or outside. The treadmill makes you keep a pace and after surgery you need to take your time at first. Just my two cents worth.
  • I was in hospital 19 days so only walked around the hospital corridors and there were plenty of people around at all times. Once home, I walked to the corner of our short street but was afraid to go further. It took a good week of this before I ventured off on my own. Now I walk every second day, about 3-4 kilometres. No, it didn't help me lose weight, but drug withdrawals did. I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy.

    These days I drive to the beach and walk along the sand. I find it refreshing and uplifting.
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