More than 150,000 people undergo lumbar spinal fusions each year to help alleviate lower back pain. If your or one of your clients is in the latter group, read on as Dr. Perkash addresses a question posed by a member of the TRX Community on whether the TRX Suspension Trainer could be used after undergoing spinal fusion surgery.
Can you address rehab using TRX related to spinal fusion? I am a trainer who is 11 weeks post op. I also have spinal disk degeneration. I use TRX regularly, and my surgeon agrees that TRX will be quite beneficial, as does my physical therapist. But I would like your opinion on whether using the TRX during my recovery would be a smart thing to do.
Spinal fusion surgery involves “fusing” or connecting two or more bony spinal segments (vertebrae) using implanted hardware such as screws and rods, or with bone or synthetic bone products. Spinal fusion surgery can be performed in the lumbar spine for a variety of reasons, including elimination of pain from painful, abnormal motion (e.g., instability known as a spondylolisthesis), severe scoliosis, low back pain due to degenerative disc disease, as well as other entities such as fractures.
Many patients after lumbar spinal fusion surgery regain full function and have no specific restrictions six to 12 months after surgery. Others, however, continue to have limitations in their activities of daily living or recreational activities. For these reasons, it is impossible to accurately generalize about all patients with spinal fusion surgery. However, virtually all patients eventually benefit from an exercise program involving core stabilization exercises as well as cardiovascular exercises. It is important to discuss the timing and specific limitations of an individual’s rehabilitation program with the patient’s spine surgeon. Many individuals will eventually have no restrictions and can fully participate in all core stabilization exercises including using a TRX fully, while others may have limitations that the spine surgeon may impose either temporarily or permanently.
Many physical therapists, under the guidance of a spine surgeon or spine rehabilitation specialist, can teach patients specific exercises for the lumbar spine after surgery including applications with the TRX. I would encourage anyone who has had or is having spinal fusion surgery to consult with his/her spine surgeon for specific recommendations and limitations regarding his/her situation at any point in time. The most common path after surgery is a directed rehabilitation program under the guidance of a physical therapist during the first six to 12 months after surgery, followed by an independent home/gym exercise program indefinitely thereafter.
For those who have been cleared by their spine surgeon to participate in all activities without restrictions, the following TRX exercises may be appropriate to achieve the goal of core strengthening:
TRX Step Side Lunge
TRX Step Back Lunge
TRX Balance Lunge
TRX Crossing Balance Lunge
TRX Hamstring Curl
TRX Hamstring Runner
TRX Side Plank (with or without Hip Drop)
TRX Oblique Crunch
TRX Single Leg Squat
TRX Low Row
TRX Overhead Back Extension
TRX Standing or Kneeling Roll Out
TRX Hip Hinge (Wide Stance or Single Leg)
For more on how TRX Suspension Training bodyweight exercise is a safe, scalable and effective solution for you or your patients, visit our Sports Medicine page and download our White Paper. Also, be sure to check out our TRX Biomechanics: Healthy Back DVD, creating in partnership with Corrective Exercise Specialist Justin Price and featuring an easy-to-follow series of targeted stretches and strength training exercises to help you regain muscular balance in your back.
NOTE: Any medical information in this blog is of a general nature and not a substitute for the advice of a medical professional. If you need medical advice, see a doctor.