Jump to content
Slate Blackcurrant Watermelon Strawberry Orange Banana Apple Emerald Chocolate Marble
Slate Blackcurrant Watermelon Strawberry Orange Banana Apple Emerald Chocolate Marble
MSH Pro Shop closing from 8/26 til first week of September Read more... ×
Sign in to follow this  
caveman27

spinal fusion and ice hockey

Recommended Posts

Hi, yeah so my body is breaking down. I had hip arthroscopy earlier this year and I thought that was related to my back pain. After I recovered from my hip surgery, the back pain came back. I told my doctor about it at a check up and he said it was possible sciatica. I go to a neurologist, he orders an x-ray and MRI. I looked at the images and one of the vertebrae isn't aligned. 🤕 Lumbar region, L3 and L4. So that was causing nerves to get touched.

I'm getting surgery soon.

Anyone get this done and go back to hockey or did you just hang up the gloves?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have arthritis, especially in my lower back and my last lot of xrays of my upper back / neck region showed a lot of wear and tear. I'm not at the fusion stage yet but dealing with back pain is an ongoing grind. However my chiropractor reckons skating is one of the better exercises you can do for your back as it does not generate a lot of concussive loading thru the back and the rotational movement helps to keep everything loose (and I hate swimming as an exercise). If I ever wonder if I could still play sports after spinal fusion I just look at Tiger and know anything must be possible.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The only thing I'd say here is to take some time to seriously consider what you want to get out of this surgery.  After the stitches are gone and all of the PT and rehab are over, what do you want your life to look like?  What do you want to be able to DO?  Is it enough to just live pain free with 'normal' activity?  Or, do you really want to be able to play hockey?  Run a marathon?  Climb the Grand Teton?  Go skiing?  Figure out what you really want, then sit down and talk to your surgeon about what he believes he can deliver. Then, if you don't like what you hear from your current doc, find another one and talk to him/her about what YOU want. 

Put differently, if playing hockey is something you REALLY want to do after this surgery (and I can't imagine why you wouldn't...😉) don't blindly accept, "well, I'm not sure we'll be able to get you back on the rink after this..." without getting at least ONE second opinion...preferably from someone that has NO knowledge of your situation and is starting from scratch.  

It's your damn back and your damn life, after all.

It's not the same, but my mom has dealt with progressively worsening back issues for years.  As I write this, she's about 5 weeks out of her 4th back surgery and is finally standing up straight for the first time in years. Unfortunately for her, she didn't go into her first surgery with a clear idea of what she wanted out of it and wound up with a surgeon that was content to deliver 'good enough for occasional walks around the neighborhood', when my mom wanted 'I'd like to be able to kayak and snowmobile and roughhouse with my grandson.'  7 years, 3 surgeries, and a different doctor that knew how to ask the right questions later, we may finally be getting somewhere.  

Finally, best of luck to you. Back surgery can be awful...but it can also be effing life-changing!!!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On ‎11‎/‎6‎/‎2018 at 4:48 PM, caveman27 said:

Hi, yeah so my body is breaking down. I had hip arthroscopy earlier this year and I thought that was related to my back pain. After I recovered from my hip surgery, the back pain came back. I told my doctor about it at a check up and he said it was possible sciatica. I go to a neurologist, he orders an x-ray and MRI. I looked at the images and one of the vertebrae isn't aligned. 🤕 Lumbar region, L3 and L4. So that was causing nerves to get touched.

I'm getting surgery soon.

Anyone get this done and go back to hockey or did you just hang up the gloves?

 

I'm almost 2 years removed from having Cervical Spine surgery. Had ACDF, Anterior Cervical Discectomy & Fusion on my C3-C4, C4-C5, C5-C6, 3 levels of having my discs removed, spacers put in and a titanium plate put in place to solidify everything up. Now I call "recovery" the time it took from surgery until I could start getting again which was about 6'ish months and now I'm back skating 2-3 times a week. For real life recovery, I was back to work in a little under a week (office job but I was able to work from home), couldn't lift anything more than 15 lbs for a while and had driving restrictions as well for about 2 months'ish and then did about 3 months of PT 2 times a week. The worst part about any of this was the catheter getting taken out after surgery. Also I lost some movement in my neck in how far I can turn my head which I am totally fine with because I have an excuse when I don't pass on the ice.

I was scared out of my mind going into surgery but at the same time I had spinal cord compression from a calcified disc that if I got in an accident or fell wrong, well lets just say it would not have ended well, so I didn't have a choice really. I woke up from surgery and all the symptoms and pain were all gone, except for the catheter that's awful, I was up walking the next day I just had a nice scar on my neck. I know its not the same surgery but its fairly close and I'll bet it will probably be the best decision you make and I don't doubt given some time and recovery you'll be back on skates.

Another side note with this, I have a partially torn labrum and my hip would kill every know and then, saw an ortho who said surgery but I said it wasn't that bad yet. This was before the ACDF neck surgery, but yea I get that surgery wake up and I can feel a difference in my gait when I'm walking and even skating and my hip hasn't bothered me since.

Feel free to PM me with any questions if you'd like @caveman27

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/8/2018 at 3:03 PM, the_game said:

I'm almost 2 years removed from having Cervical Spine surgery. Had ACDF, Anterior Cervical Discectomy & Fusion on my C3-C4, C4-C5, C5-C6, 3 levels of having my discs removed, spacers put in and a titanium plate put in place to solidify everything up. Now I call "recovery" the time it took from surgery until I could start getting again which was about 6'ish months and now I'm back skating 2-3 times a week. For real life recovery, I was back to work in a little under a week (office job but I was able to work from home), couldn't lift anything more than 15 lbs for a while and had driving restrictions as well for about 2 months'ish and then did about 3 months of PT 2 times a week. The worst part about any of this was the catheter getting taken out after surgery. Also I lost some movement in my neck in how far I can turn my head which I am totally fine with because I have an excuse when I don't pass on the ice.

I was scared out of my mind going into surgery but at the same time I had spinal cord compression from a calcified disc that if I got in an accident or fell wrong, well lets just say it would not have ended well, so I didn't have a choice really. I woke up from surgery and all the symptoms and pain were all gone, except for the catheter that's awful, I was up walking the next day I just had a nice scar on my neck. I know its not the same surgery but its fairly close and I'll bet it will probably be the best decision you make and I don't doubt given some time and recovery you'll be back on skates.

Another side note with this, I have a partially torn labrum and my hip would kill every know and then, saw an ortho who said surgery but I said it wasn't that bad yet. This was before the ACDF neck surgery, but yea I get that surgery wake up and I can feel a difference in my gait when I'm walking and even skating and my hip hasn't bothered me since.

Feel free to PM me with any questions if you'd like @caveman27

Thanks for responding.

My lower back pain/sciatica symptoms are slowly getting worse. It started with tightness in glutes and hamstrings, chronic. Now, I get tingling down the right leg, and/or right foot. Sometimes I can jog a bit without any issues, like to cross the street faster because a car is coming, and sometimes, that short 5 step jog to the sidewalk is very painful. Sometimes, my right foot is dragging, when I start to walk, involuntarily. During one game, my right leg was also dragging while skating forward.

I've had various surgeries and orthopedic surgeries, ACL reconstruction, shoulder labrum repair, hip arthroscopy. This would be my first spinal surgery. I'm a bit worried, but am also putting my faith in God to not worry. My mom has sciatica and had back surgery. Didn't increase the pain, but didn't decrease it, and laminectomy was performed. No fusion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've had spinal fusion done, but the context was very different.

I was diagnosed with scoliosis at 13 years old and it had progressed to the point where wearing a brace would do nothing to improve it. Surgery was the only option to fix it. If you looked at a straight on x-ray of my back from the back, you'd expect a normal person's spine to look straight. Mine was backwards S shaped with the second curve being something like 68 degrees. The other curve wasn't as bad, but beyond the 30 degrees limit that a brace could treat. I went to see 3 different spine orthopedics and ended up doing the surgery with the one who made me feel the most comfortable and informed about the procedure. I was told that if I didn't get the procedure done, I'd probably have significantly worse back pain when I was older in addition to other problems. (I didn't have any back pain or issues before this, the scoliosis was actually discovered by the PE teacher when they do the scoliosis check in middle school.) Initially, the doctor said they best they could correct it was 50%. I'd be able to do anything aside from heavy lifting jobs and heavy contact sports like football. 

Post operation, she had corrected my spine perfectly. It's basically perfectly straight now and still holding up. I started hockey a year ago and at 23/24 and my back has been doing perfectly fine. The biggest thing I've noticed is any time a seat doesn't provide good back support, I'll get some irritation right where the fusion ends at my L4. A few months ago I was having some lower back irritations, but after going to the ortho for it, they said the back was fine it was probably just some tense muscles. Gave me some stretches to do and the pain has gone away.

The only weird thing hockey wise is that when I skate, I basically skate with a completely straight back and upright. It actually looks super back breaking, but because the rods are constantly holding my back straight, arching my back and bending over like people normally do is weird. There's no pain associated with it, it's just kinda the natural stance of my body. This season, people have said I look less upright so I think it's definitely correctable, but I've been playing for the past year with no issues.

On 11/8/2018 at 2:15 PM, Santos L Halper said:

The only thing I'd say here is to take some time to seriously consider what you want to get out of this surgery.  After the stitches are gone and all of the PT and rehab are over, what do you want your life to look like?  What do you want to be able to DO?  Is it enough to just live pain free with 'normal' activity?  Or, do you really want to be able to play hockey?  Run a marathon?  Climb the Grand Teton?  Go skiing?  Figure out what you really want, then sit down and talk to your surgeon about what he believes he can deliver. Then, if you don't like what you hear from your current doc, find another one and talk to him/her about what YOU want. 

Put differently, if playing hockey is something you REALLY want to do after this surgery (and I can't imagine why you wouldn't...😉) don't blindly accept, "well, I'm not sure we'll be able to get you back on the rink after this..." without getting at least ONE second opinion...preferably from someone that has NO knowledge of your situation and is starting from scratch.  

This is really important advice. That's what I liked about the surgeon I went with is that she explained everything to me and didn't patronize me. Her assistant told me that they had a serious ballerina get spinal fusion. Within a year, she worked really hard at the PT and was able to completely touch her toes and regain most of the flexibility she had lost. Of course, me being a 13 year old and not an athlete, I was like "Yeah, I'm okay with not playing football / [insert super heavy contact sport here]. And I'm not super physically talented anyway, so I'm sure I'm not going to be a carpenter or construction worker when I grow up."

Playing hockey now, I just try to not get into collisions with poor skaters, practice falling at public skates all the time, and stretch before games just to make sure I prevent injuring myself. My situation is a little different from yours in that I was recovering as a child, but I think if you stick with the PT, you should be able to play hockey with no issues. 🙂

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/6/2018 at 5:48 PM, caveman27 said:

Hi, yeah so my body is breaking down. I had hip arthroscopy earlier this year and I thought that was related to my back pain. After I recovered from my hip surgery, the back pain came back. I told my doctor about it at a check up and he said it was possible sciatica. I go to a neurologist, he orders an x-ray and MRI. I looked at the images and one of the vertebrae isn't aligned. 🤕 Lumbar region, L3 and L4. So that was causing nerves to get touched.

I'm getting surgery soon.

Anyone get this done and go back to hockey or did you just hang up the gloves?

 

Same issue here, 2 separate issues with bulging discs and the second in 2013 after my CT scan showed one bulging disc In the L1-S5 sending pain down the sciatia neve and priformis muscle to spasm badly. I also had 2 vertebra sliding forward (Spondylolisthesis) 4 mm and another 6 mm! I thought this was terrible and I was done playing hockey, but the specialist said that my condition was nothing to some people and surgery was not in the cards at all. He said if I could play hockey do it as long as I could stand it. I went back to hockey and it did not hurt at all except after, my lower back was sore and the sciatica was always present (to this day) but not while playing hockey as I have been fine so I would suggest get back on the ice and try! I had a friend that was a great hockey player and he had the same problem but it hurt him to skate so we are all different.

good luck!

Edited by smu
Spelling spelling

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Congrats! Recovery road can be tough, beat advice I can give is listen to your docs/surgeons, don’t push it, listen to your body, and do not ready anything on the internet about your surgery ha!

 if PT is in the cards try to find a good one who understands what your goals are post recovery and work your ass off getting as close to 100% as possible.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/2/2018 at 11:23 PM, the_game said:

Congrats! Recovery road can be tough, beat advice I can give is listen to your docs/surgeons, don’t push it, listen to your body, and do not ready anything on the internet about your surgery ha!

 if PT is in the cards try to find a good one who understands what your goals are post recovery and work your ass off getting as close to 100% as possible.

There's a physical therapy business I've been to in the past: shoulder, leg, hip stuff. I'm like a repeat customer.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Kind of strange that my doctor didn't suggest that I get physical therapy. He just said I could begin weight resistance training, but start light and listen to your body. 

I've had physical therapy in the past. So, I started with walking only. When it got to mid-January, I was able to do start fast walking and adding machine-based weight resistance training. Mid-March, I started mixing fast walking and jogging, continuing machine-based weight resistance exercises and I added body weight lifting: push ups, pull ups, lunges and box step-ups. It's mid-April and I've been doing the same things since mid-Match.

End of March, I went ice skating to a public skate. That went well, and my balance, stopping, and turning was better than before I had surgery. Didn't go crazy and haven't played any hockey yet. I'm looking to play in October. I have another appt with my doctor and I'll ask him about it.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

hey @caveman27Good to hear you're progressing and getting better! I know with my issue it was across the board with what surgeons have you do in terms of recovery and rehab so maybe your surgeon didn't think you needed PT. As long as you are listening to your body and progressing I think you're fine. Good luck with the next appointment and keep us posted!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
47 minutes ago, the_game said:

hey @caveman27Good to hear you're progressing and getting better! I know with my issue it was across the board with what surgeons have you do in terms of recovery and rehab so maybe your surgeon didn't think you needed PT. As long as you are listening to your body and progressing I think you're fine. Good luck with the next appointment and keep us posted!

Thanks.

I can see that since I won't be able to squats or deadlifts or leg presses, my leg strength isn't going to where it used to be in the past. I'm trying to lose weight during my recovery, so I'm not skating around with as much flab and can get speed that way.  I am up to jogging a mile in 10 minutes 43 seconds. That's slow, but an improvement compared to 4 weeks ago. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's mid-May. About a month from my last post. Today, I ran 2 miles in 19 minutes 22 seconds. I was breathing hard in the last two minutes.  At least my back is doing well under that duress.

When I was in really good shape, I was able to run 2 miles in under 16 minutes. I'm off my old pace.

Edited by caveman27
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's a bit past mid-June. I've been working on losing weight too. Yesterday, I ran a mile in 8 minutes 28 seconds. It was pretty stressful on my lungs. Lower back felt fine. Still need to bring my endurance up. I haven't been on the ice yet to play pick-up. I might over July 4th weekend.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 hours ago, caveman27 said:

It's a bit past mid-June. I've been working on losing weight too. Yesterday, I ran a mile in 8 minutes 28 seconds. It was pretty stressful on my lungs. Lower back felt fine. Still need to bring my endurance up. I haven't been on the ice yet to play pick-up. I might over July 4th weekend.

I just read your story. You’ve been through a lot. Good on you for trying to get back to doing what you love!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 minutes ago, bunnyman666 said:

I just read your story. You’ve been through a lot. Good on you for trying to get back to doing what you love!

Thanks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I didn't get a chance to play any pick-up hockey over July 4th. Other stuff was going.

Today, I ran a mile in 8 minutes 17 seconds. I was running most of it at a 7 MPH pace and I increased the speed for the last .15 miles. I was pretty tired afterwards, but I did some pull-ups afterwards. This was 10 seconds than my last timed mile. I'm not sure if I'll be able get my one mile time down to 7 minutes 30 seconds, which would close to my fitness level about 14 years ago.

Fall/winter hockey starts at the beginning of October, so I have about two months and a half to continue improving my stamina and speed, and trying to lose more weight. Side note, I noticed my stamina/endurance wasn't good even before my surgery; I was carrying too much extra weight so I wasn't able to sprint as fast and I got tired faster. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had my last follow-up visit with the neurologist. My doctor said it was okay to get back into ice hockey this winter, but I should work on my core and ease back into it.

I do planks once in awhile. I stay away from sit ups now. I need to be more diligent about working on my core when at the gym. I hate doing planks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So, I played pick-up hockey last Friday. That was great. Didn't get any shots on net. I just played defense most of the time. Tried to make some passes up to forwards. Practice fast backwards skating in 1-on-1 situations. Didn't go too crazy offensively. Only difference this time around was I never jumped the boards to get on or off. I was using the door all the time. :883_wheelchair:  

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×