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Spine Fusion Adventure

Paintboy2

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CP-Coastal Route(2016), CdN (2017) CP-Senda Litoral (2018), Way of St. Francis (2019), CPVS (2020)
Have any of you Camino veterans walked after a back fusion? I'm 4 weeks pre-op for a major back fusion operation and I'm wondering how it will impact my next Camino (#5). For those of you in the know it's an L2 - S1 I interbody fusion. I'm not new to surgery having had two total knee replacements but this one is a big deal with a long recovery period. I just curious if anyone else has experience with a Camino AFTER fusion.
 

Cayou

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2015 Villafranca to SdC 2016 St Jean to LosArcos 2018 Leon to SdC 2019 Le Puy to Conques
Dear Paint2:
I've only experienced at least one fully degenerated disc of L5-S1 (it's gone) which is at the base of the spine. That was a 2015 MRI which also showed L4 and L3 as 50% degenerated. Back pain - yes, but it can be managed with proper posture and limiting bending over. That can be difficult on the trail as you have to look down a lot! Had friends get fusion, some with pretty good relief and others not so much - but none had L2? Hopefully, my vertebrae fuse on their own after time (?) - at least I've been told this can happen by both friends and medical folks.
Wishing you the best!
 

Charles Zammit

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
St Jean Pied de Port - Finisterra 2017
GR70 France 2018
Via Francigena 2019
I walked the Frances , the Francigena and the GR70 after having two vertebrae fused as well as a Laminectomy .
Depending on the type of procedure it might take some time to reach pre operative back muscle strength , the slightest incline felt like Everest to me for months afterwards .
But you do get better and stronger, now almost 20 years later if my back starts to hurt I know I'm not walking enough .
Good luck , keep faith in yourself and recover well
 

MichaelB10398

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago de Compostela, Lourdes to SdC, SJPP to SdC
Mine fused on its own. As long as I walk and get a decent amount of exercise I have no problems. However, if I don't exercise, then I can get into trouble with back pain.
 

Old Git

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2018 Portuguese
2019 Finisterre/Muxia
Have any of you Camino veterans walked after a back fusion? I'm 4 weeks pre-op for a major back fusion operation and I'm wondering how it will impact my next Camino (#5). For those of you in the know it's an L2 - S1 I interbody fusion. I'm not new to surgery having had two total knee replacements but this one is a big deal with a long recovery period. I just curious if anyone else has experience with a Camino AFTER fusion.
Hello Paintboy2, yes I have had spinal fusion and like you a couple of knees and a shoulder just take your time it will be fine.
 

MaryOswald

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
planning a fall 2019 trip
Have any of you Camino veterans walked after a back fusion? I'm 4 weeks pre-op for a major back fusion operation and I'm wondering how it will impact my next Camino (#5). For those of you in the know it's an L2 - S1 I interbody fusion. I'm not new to surgery having had two total knee replacements but this one is a big deal with a long recovery period. I just curious if anyone else has experience with a Camino AFTER fusion.
i am a 61 year old female who hiked the northern route last year in 31 days following a spinal fusion for spondylolysthesis. I kept my pack to 10 lbs and stretched everyday. My surgery was 5 years ago and my back is still incredibly tight but I was able to hike without a problem. Static positions such as sitting and laying down hurt but activities make me feel better.
 

Paintboy2

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CP-Coastal Route(2016), CdN (2017) CP-Senda Litoral (2018), Way of St. Francis (2019), CPVS (2020)
i am a 61 year old female who hiked the northern route last year in 31 days following a spinal fusion for spondylolysthesis. I kept my pack to 10 lbs and stretched everyday. My surgery was 5 years ago and my back is still incredibly tight but I was able to hike without a problem. Static positions such as sitting and laying down hurt but activities make me feel better.
Mary I'm hoping for the best.
 

Janade

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
(May 2018)
I had a spine fusion from T-5 to L-4 when I was 16 (scoliosis). That’s about from the middle of my shoulder blades to my hips. Of course I’ve had a long time to get used to it (I’m 58 now) but with age comes additional issues (I was diagnosed with a cousin of rheumatoid arthritis several years ago and I have a general lack of lateral movement in the spine which leads an abnormal shoulder posture and a bit of a wonky gait when walking.

However, I was able to do the camino in 2017 with surprisingly (to me) little issues. The daily walking seemed to help the pain I normally have and I was so tired every night, I didn’t have problems sleeping like I do sometimes at home. I did send my pack ahead often, which I think also helped.

I had plans to do a camino this autumn in Italy - but Covid19 :(. Shooting for next autumn now if all goes well.
 

Jack L

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances from SJPP - September (2017)
Camino Frances from SJPP - September (2021)
I had two cervical fusions before my Camino in 2017. In 2008 fused C3 to C6 and in 2014 fused C2 to C3 and C6 to C7. I realize that is not the same as a lumbar fusion but it should give you hope that your Camino is possible.

The key to a successful Camino after major surgery is to walk as much as you can as soon as you can after surgery. Walk a little every day.

By the way, I was 72 when I did my Camino in 2017 and had plans to go again this year. I'm itching to go again as soon as the COVID transmission rate allows.

Good luck with your surgery and Buen Camino.
 

Canada Wanders

Lost, but making great time...
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2015
CP 2018
Have any of you Camino veterans walked after a back fusion? I'm 4 weeks pre-op for a major back fusion operation and I'm wondering how it will impact my next Camino (#5). For those of you in the know it's an L2 - S1 I interbody fusion. I'm not new to surgery having had two total knee replacements but this one is a big deal with a long recovery period. I just curious if anyone else has experience with a Camino AFTER fusion.
I am one. Not a low back like yours, mine was C5,6-7. It was about 8 years after my fusion that I did the Camino, but it was fine, no problems. I was a little nervous with wearing a backpack and stressing my upper back and neck, but it was fine. Only issue is sleep, which is not really all the fusion fault.
I went with a pretty light load in a larger size bag to be able to spread things comfortably well distributed.
I agree completely with Jack and others here. Time and preparation is as always the key.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Norte and Frances Sept 6 - Oct 11, 2016
Have any of you Camino veterans walked after a back fusion? I'm 4 weeks pre-op for a major back fusion operation and I'm wondering how it will impact my next Camino (#5). For those of you in the know it's an L2 - S1 I interbody fusion. I'm not new to surgery having had two total knee replacements but this one is a big deal with a long recovery period. I just curious if anyone else has experience with a Camino AFTER fusion.
I've had a knee replacement and did the Norte with no problem. I just had the back fusion you speak
of and climb mountains and volcanoes 3 times a week here in Guatemala. A Camino shouldn't be a problem and I will be 76 next Sunday
 

Maria K

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2013) (2018) Camino Frances
Have any of you Camino veterans walked after a back fusion? I'm 4 weeks pre-op for a major back fusion operation and I'm wondering how it will impact my next Camino (#5). For those of you in the know it's an L2 - S1 I interbody fusion. I'm not new to surgery having had two total knee replacements but this one is a big deal with a long recovery period. I just curious if anyone else has experience with a Camino AFTER fusion.
Hi Paintboy2.. In March 2018 (at 59 years old), I had a spinal fusion on L4, L5 . In August of that same year, I walked the Camino Frances, (No 2). This was my 2nd back op. I did a Laminectomy 5 years prior to this op.
I started in Navarrenx in France. After my op I did loads of physio, loads of training with a Biokinetisist, and also did a couple of Oxygen therapy sessions. My pain always refers down my right side into my knee. I cannot say I was pain free, as I still had pain in my knee. I also took lots of anti inflamatories, and I did not carry my backpack. I sent my pack ahead every day. (my doctor told me that I could not carry a heavy backpack).
I had a great time, and two years later, I still have pain in my knee! Comes and goes depending on what training I am doing and the intensity of it.
Hope your op goes well.. It can be done, just don't push too soon after the op and do all the rehab properly. Don't rush your rehab. Buen Camino..
 

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