Walking after lumbar fusion surgery

9 days post op TLIF L2-L3 and second day of outside walking. Walked 1 block Thursday 2x that day and was sore. Skipped yesterday and stayed on ice all day. This morning made it 2 blocks which is probably about 1/2 mile. Will see how I feel this afternoon and if ok will attempt the same walk. I can tell you from experience that this level is much easier to recoup from than when I had L4-S1 done. Those 2 lower levels don't even compare in my experience. I guess the muscles and the new hardware all have to get use to each other is why the walking really helps. This recovery is showing to be much like the L3-L4 fusion. My walking pace is very very slow let me mind you and I get back on the ice when I'm done. I only get up and sit for no more than a hour at a time as my brace really irritates my incision area right now which is probably 7" long or so but should get better. The bed and ice have really worked best for me the first few weeks. One other helpful tip is to avoid inclines when walking as they will make you strain. A very gradual incline in a street is not bad if you take small steps or slow your pace. 


  • I hope you are feeling better. My surgery was on 2/18 and I tried my first walk out of the house a couple days ago. I only walked about 100 yards and by the time I got back to my house, I was feeling it.

     I noticed that you mentioned wearing a brace. What type of brace is it? My doctor said I didn't need to wear one, but I think I would feel more secure if I had one.

  • Charles,
    My back braces have all been about the same and mainly strap on around the mid section. This time I have shoulder straps with a brace that fits in the middle of my chest which keeps me from leaning forward. This may be due to the upper lumbar disc that was fused. If I get out of bed it has to be on per my doctor until he says I can do differently.

    During my hospital stay one of the nurses was looking at my brace and said that strange because a lot of doctors don't use them anymore. I thought to myself that is strange because I thought it was normal that everyone got one. Times and doctors are always changing. I do believe it's more of a security blanket and I don't mind it. It does rub my incision when trying to sit on the couch or in a chair. It also makes you think before you find yourself bending or twisting. 

    Yes that walking can wear you down fast and make you sore. I walked a day then skipped a day at first then started walking everyday weather permitted and always tried to add to my distance or walk 2x a day. Don't push it to hard and just listen to your body. Good luck!
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