Trusted Contributor
Posts: 1,340
Registered: ‎08-20-2014

Yin yoga has been a godsend for me.  Also restorative yoga.


My inversion table, and Pilates.

Valued Contributor
Posts: 560
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

@hckynutjohn I am scheduled to have surgery on L4 and L5 fusing them together, from what I understand. I am looking forward to having pain relief. Physical therapy, rhizotomies and injections really haven't given long-lasting relief, so surgery really is my only hope. Dumb question for you-can you raise your arms to get into a tee shirt or sweater right after the surgery? Would I be better wearing a shirt that buttons down the front?

Respected Contributor
Posts: 4,365
Registered: ‎06-15-2015



I had my L-5/S-1 removal surgery in 1974. Needless to say, back surgery has advanced a lot since that decade. It left a 10" scar on my back, and I spent 1 day short of a month in the hospital.


Also, my surgery was a Laminectomy, not a Fusion, big difference back then. My Ortho Back Surgeon friend told me there are several options in how Fusion Surgery can now be performed. He uses different ways of Fusing, depending on the patient, some recovering quicker than another.


What I can say is this regarding your question. I spent most of June 1974 in the hospital, including my 35th birthday. When I was released it was hot weather time here in Nebraska. Until the stitches were removed, about 8 days later, he did not want me walking down steps. I lived in a 2nd story apartment at the time, so made many laps around that floor for therapy.


Since my aim was to get back to playing hockey in the Fall, a lot of my Therapy was walking. I broke it up to 3 times a day working up to 3 miles each session. Within a month he gave me the ok to start Running again.


During those outside hot walks I always wore a T-shirt, which obviously slips over the head. My only button down shirts were for "going out", not for working out. No problem there. I don't recall having any issues with raising my arms at all. The hardest dressing problem was putting on socks for me originally, shoes were a bit easier.


Over time and doing all my stretching exercises, I got enough flexibility back in my spinal muscles to be able to get back to dressing, including feet, in close to a normal amount of time.


My Ortho friend does only Spinal Surgeries, many of which are the Micro Type. In around 2007, when he removed my ruptured L-3, he performed it in his office. I was In and Out in a little over 2 hours. Left about a 1" scar covered by a band aid.


Still had to Rehab to regain my flexibility and core strength. Again, no problems raising my arms, but socks and shoes I did slowly the first couple weeks. The "quick fix" did not rule out pain and stiffness of the spinal muscles and connective tissue. Not familiar with either type of Rhizotomy.


I wish you well and be sure to stick to your Post Surgical Physical Therapy, both at Therapy Sessions, and even moreso at home. That alone is what has left me today, at 82, just as flexible as pre-1974 surgery at 35 years old.


I saw my nephew, who is an MD, at ice skating yesterday. He told me he had never seen an over 80 person that has the degree of flexibility I did during our skate.


I warm up then stretch primarily my groin muscle group by putting each leg, individually, parallel to the ice surface, much like doing the splits. Why? Because I have never quit any of my stretching exercises throughout my surgeries and 14 years of in and out of hospital illnesses.


My best to you,



hckynut 🥅🏒

Valued Contributor
Posts: 560
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

@hckynutjohn  Thank you for answering my question and for giving me more information. I appreciate it! Happy Thanksgiving!