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Old 05-11-2012, 09:24 AM   #1
KitsuneAdrienne
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Yoga for Spinal Fusion

Hello!

I'm new to yoga but I really want to try to become proficient, as I think it will help my strength, balance, stress, and dealing with chronic pain.

I am 24. When I was 20 I fell while I was working and herniated/fractured 2 discs. I ended up having to have a L3-L4/L4-L5 fusion to patch me back up. As a result I have chronic pain, that while not too terrible is very tiring and limiting. I also have numbness running along my sciatic nerve on my left leg from just below my knee all the way across my foot to my big toe. It doesn't numb my whole left leg, just the skin mostly, but I have limited calf and foot muscle usage as a result. It has taken me 3+ years but most people can't tell by the way I walk any more and my balance is MUCH improved. (Not being able to stand on grass or carpet without falling, now I can run, and wear ridiculous heels if I so desire)

ANYHOW. My question is this: Does anyone have experience with such a thing as a person with back issues or as a professional who deals with this type of issue?

As I am not supposed to twist (much) and my spine literally doesn't bend in a section of it....Will my body ever be able to compensate? IE if I turn with my hips instead of twisting with my spine, will my hips ever open up enough that I can achieve a degree of movement that is acceptable? Will the non-fused bits of my spine be more limber? Importantly, is this horribly bad for me??

I have accepted that I will never be able to do deep back bends or touch my feet to the top of my head backwards or anything like that. I'm just looking for general advice Thanks!
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Old 05-11-2012, 04:17 PM   #2
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General advice is that since some things in the spine are surgically attached to other things and that such attaching in not a native state, an asana practice should be tailored for you by a very experienced, therapeutically trained yoga teacher.

Anything less than that would likely heighten risk.
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Old 05-15-2012, 02:22 PM   #3
KitsuneAdrienne
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Thank you!
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Old 05-15-2012, 04:16 PM   #4
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You're welcome.
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Old 05-16-2012, 03:08 PM   #5
athomas
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Hello! I am 29 I had a spinal fusion of L3/L4 with bone graft about 5 years ago from a head on car accident where I tore the facets off of my L3 and therefore tore most of the muscles in my lower back. Yes I agree get a professional involved. My yoga instructor(She was actually a firefighter and had a plane door fall on her back and has a scar from right shoulder to left hip and got into yoga as a way to recooperate) says that there is no right or wrong, do what feels right. Yes she is there to guide us and make sure that we do not hurt ourselves but there are always modifications that can be made or another pose to substitute.
I am amazed at how much my hips have opened up and what I am actually been able to do. Also my pain has dissapated and my strength has increased. Most balance comes from the core so as you improve muscle there both front and back (both being key)your balance goes up and pain goes down. I no longer have chronic pain.
I wish you the best!
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Old 05-16-2012, 03:26 PM   #6
KitsuneAdrienne
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I would love to not have chronic back pain! I am so happy to hear about your good results that I am almost in tears. Most people who have back issues like you or I did were much older or didn't try to be active, from what I can tell. There are not a lot of precursors and I am frustrated a lot of the time trying to find answers.

Thanks !!!!
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Old 05-21-2012, 05:14 PM   #7
athomas
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I haven't had as difficult of a recovery as it sounds like you had/have but hopefully it will work for you.( I just had one disc fusion, the major muscle trauma, the seatbelt gave me a "nice" smiley face scar from hip to hip as well as breaking a rib that punctured a lung) I had a " turtle shell" for 3 months and hardware in for 9 months. Do you still have hardware? I also do mat Pilates that has strengthened my core and that really helped, I started there and then went into yoga.
I totally get the frustration....It seems like a lot of people go, "Oh I hurt my back, I
guess I will sit on my butt and hurt and whine about it and take some pills.."
Wishing you the best! As my friend says "Scars are sexy!!"
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Old 05-22-2012, 08:12 AM   #8
KitsuneAdrienne
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You sound like you went through a lot too!

Well I am just more afraid to be hurting myself in ways I don't understand. I have a permanent implant. 2 rods, 5 screws, and 2 pins. My biggest fear is needing more surgery and further worsening my nerve damage. It took me a few years to learn to walk somewhat normally and I am so scared that if I hurt myself again my nerve damage could travel up my leg and make it even worse.

I guess I cannot let my fear dictate my life and that's why I'm trying this. I decided to be careful but not cease to live and be happy with my activities. I have been very strong mentally because I had to be to make it day to day, but in stuff like this where it's sort of optional I find less confidence and clarity.

Anyhow, thanks for sharing your story
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Old 05-23-2012, 04:41 PM   #9
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I have a friend which has a backproblem and he says only thing that works for the pain is soyprotein. He have had a car accident.

Ive tried some soyprotein from him at some occasions and it removed little of stiffness i have in my muscles. IF it was placebo i dont know. But i read some studies on soy that says it is good for inflammations in the muscles due to something in soy.

Its not a miracle but it let your muscles recover faster if you do yoga and maybe it will help a little on the way.
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