I get asked a lot about my mobility post spinal fusion, so I thought I would write a post and create a video on this very topic.
My spine is fused from T3 – L3, which means most of my spine is fused. I have 3 discs unfused at the bottom of my spine, which does give me some flexibility.
How much mobility is lost in general following spinal fusion surgery, will depend on how long the fusion is, and how low down the fusion goes, since most of your flexibility is derived from the lower discs of the spine. This means someone with a shorter fusion will likely have more flexibility than someone with a long spinal fusion.
I had my spinal fusion 12 years ago now which means I can probably move more freely than someone who has recently had spinal fusion. If you have had spinal fusion in the last 6-12 months you should not be doing any bending/lifting or twisting movements. In fact you probably won’t be able to!
It does get easier with time. It took me a long while to get my flexibility back and to be able to bend and twist more freely and without pain. Just don’t attempt any bending or twisting until you are fully fused (which is normally around 12 months) and your surgeon says it’s ok!!
I can’t bend the fused part of my back but I still have a good range of movement, which means I can do most day-to-day activities and I’ve learnt to adapt.
If you would like to see how far I can bend down, twist, and how I pick things up off the floor with my T3-L3 fusion, then check out my video spinal fusion and mobility, where I demonstrate some of these movements and more.
How does it feel with a spinal fusion?
Overall, it does feel stiff but I am used to it now. I think it feels worse when it’s cold so in the winter but most of the time I don’t really notice it, as for me it feels normal now. When I first had the spinal fusion surgery, it felt like I had a wooden board strapped to my back but I don’t really feel like that now. Mostly it feels supported and it’s easier to sit upright as I cant slouch and I have an internal support system!
For more information check out my post on how scoliosis affects my everyday life.
Let me know if you can relate to this post, or have any questions in the comments below!
I had scoliosis surgery in 2010 and blog about my experiences living with scoliosis. My aim is to raise awareness of scoliosis and help and inspire others with the condition.