2-Level Laminectomy 2-Level Laminectomy

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Thread: 2-Level Laminectomy

  1. #1
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    Oct 2017
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    Default 2-Level Laminectomy

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    I thought Id post my experience w/ 2-level laminectomy and facetectomy (L3-5) early recovery and return to lifting. I havent seen much on this and wanted to share my experience as well as solicit input as I return to lifting.

    Im a 62 year old male, 5 7 205 lbs. Younger days I was a competitive gymnast and dabbled in submission grappling and arm wrestling. After too many years of sedate living and fits of lower back pain, I discovered SS and the concept that a strong back is a healthy back. (discectomy ~ 20 yrs ago for bone spur / herniated disc). I bought a power rack, bench and bar, and started the program in my basement gym July 2017. My starting lifts at a bodyweight of 210 were: Squat 135x5; Benchpress 175x5 and deadlift 275x5. Presses were problematic after 4 shoulder surgeries. On my 60th birthday, my weight had increased to 225 and lifts progressed to (all singles): Squat: 375; Bench 302.5; Deadlift 435.

    Injuries (pulled glute/hamstring; hernia) since those peaks have limited further progress, and worse, my lower legs and feet began to get numb and tingly, along with increased lower back pain beginning about 18 months ago. This worsened to the point I could not be on my feet, either walking or standing for more than 10 minutes at a time. By this time I had stopped squatting; deadlifts were much lighter and had to benchpress w/ legs up on the bench. An MRI showed severe stenosis in 2 levels leading to neurogenic claudication. Subsequent meetings w/ GP and 2 independent neurosurgeons recommended decompression laminectomy, which after much research, I agreed was the best way to proceed.

    In preparation, I dropped bodyweight to 195 lbs and had the surgery April 13, 2021 after a month delay due to contracting Covid. Recovery was much less painful than expected I walked 2 miles 2 days after surgery and 8 miles 7 days after something I definitely could not have done before the procedure.

    I had my follow-up after 4 weeks and expressed my desire to resume lifting. My neurosurgeon, who agreed before the procedure I would be able to lift again, was cautiously supportive. I began a very conservative NLP in May 11 as follows: Squat 45 x 5; bench 95x5; deadlift 135x5. My current lifts are: squat 275x5; bench 225x5 and deadlift 325x5. It will be exactly 4 months since the surgery in 3 days.

    My back pain is nearly 100% gone although I feel tight from time to time at the location of the procedure. Ibuprofen is very effective here. My lower leg/foot pain and numbness has improved, but definitely has not abated. The only times it worsened was during a 4-hr flight to visit grandchildren, and more recently, after kayaking for 2 hrs. Otherwise lower leg and foot pain is constant, but much less than before the procedure. And unlike before, it doesnt worsen w/ standing or walking. Im glad I had the procedure, and my quality of life has significantly improved.

    Im curious if anyone has had similar work done, and what your recovery was like? Im transitioning to a HLM program and plan to continue making progress as long as my lower back and legs/feet tolerate it. Ideally, Id like to get back (and exceed) previous levels, but very curious to hear of others that may have been through related work, and if there are any "gotchas" I need to be aware of.

    Moderators please move this to the appropriate forum if this isnt the correct one.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
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    South Korea
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    Quote Originally Posted by ML67 View Post
    I thought I’d post my experience w/ 2-level laminectomy and facetectomy (L3-5) early recovery and return to lifting. I haven’t seen much on this and wanted to share my experience as well as solicit input as I return to lifting.

    I’m a 62 year old male, 5’ 7” 205 lbs. Younger days I was a competitive gymnast and dabbled in submission grappling and arm wrestling. After too many years of sedate living and fits of lower back pain, I discovered SS and the concept that a strong back is a healthy back. (discectomy ~ 20 yrs ago for bone spur / herniated disc). I bought a power rack, bench and bar, and started the program in my basement gym July 2017. My starting lifts at a bodyweight of 210 were: Squat – 135x5; Benchpress 175x5 and deadlift 275x5. Presses were problematic after 4 shoulder surgeries. On my 60th birthday, my weight had increased to 225 and lifts progressed to (all singles): Squat: 375; Bench 302.5; Deadlift 435.

    Injuries (pulled glute/hamstring; hernia) since those peaks have limited further progress, and worse, my lower legs and feet began to get numb and tingly, along with increased lower back pain beginning about 18 months ago. This worsened to the point I could not be on my feet, either walking or standing for more than 10 minutes at a time. By this time I had stopped squatting; deadlifts were much lighter and had to benchpress w/ legs up on the bench. An MRI showed severe stenosis in 2 levels leading to neurogenic claudication. Subsequent meetings w/ GP and 2 independent neurosurgeons recommended decompression laminectomy, which after much research, I agreed was the best way to proceed.

    In preparation, I dropped bodyweight to 195 lbs and had the surgery April 13, 2021 after a month delay due to contracting Covid. Recovery was much less painful than expected – I walked 2 miles 2 days after surgery and 8 miles 7 days after – something I definitely could not have done before the procedure.

    I had my follow-up after 4 weeks and expressed my desire to resume lifting. My neurosurgeon, who agreed before the procedure I would be able to lift again, was cautiously supportive. I began a very conservative NLP in May 11 as follows: Squat – 45 x 5; bench 95x5; deadlift 135x5. My current lifts are: squat 275x5; bench 225x5 and deadlift 325x5. It will be exactly 4 months since the surgery in 3 days.

    My back pain is nearly 100% gone although I feel “tight” from time to time at the location of the procedure. Ibuprofen is very effective here. My lower leg/foot pain and numbness has improved, but definitely has not abated. The only times it worsened was during a 4-hr flight to visit grandchildren, and more recently, after kayaking for 2 hrs. Otherwise lower leg and foot pain is constant, but much less than before the procedure. And unlike before, it doesn’t worsen w/ standing or walking. I’m glad I had the procedure, and my quality of life has significantly improved.

    I’m curious if anyone has had similar “work” done, and what your recovery was like? I’m transitioning to a HLM program and plan to continue making progress as long as my lower back and legs/feet tolerate it. Ideally, I’d like to get back (and exceed) previous levels, but very curious to hear of others that may have been through related work, and if there are any "gotchas" I need to be aware of.

    Moderators – please move this to the appropriate forum if this isn’t the correct one.

    Thanks
    We will see if anyone else comments on this, but I frequently work with people who have had similar surgeries, both in the clinic and as a strength coach. It would certainly appear to me, through direct observation, that this type of report is more common with people who train post-lumbar surgery than people who follow the more typical plinth based rehab approach.

  3. #3
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    Oct 2017
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    Hudson, NH
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    Quote Originally Posted by Will Morris View Post
    We will see if anyone else comments on this, but I frequently work with people who have had similar surgeries, both in the clinic and as a strength coach. It would certainly appear to me, through direct observation, that this type of report is more common with people who train post-lumbar surgery than people who follow the more typical plinth based rehab approach.
    Thanks Will. I hadn't seen much on lifting post lamenectomy (discectomy yes) so your comment is welcome and encouraging. I don't plan to hold back - and won't as long as back and lower leg/foot pain doesn't worsen.

    Welcome comments from any others that have had similar work done.

    Thanks

  4. #4
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    Jul 2010
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    Windermere, Florida
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    I am 4 weeks post op from why laminectomy at the L3/L4. I developed a hematoma and was completely paralyzed from the waist down. Had to have follow up surgery two days from original. With that said, I have zero sciatica pain and almost zero surgery site pain. Just stiffness. My weakness in legs seems to be improving. Over the last several days my body has been telling me to get moving. I've been hitting some air squats and air deadlifts. Feels great, just tightness in my hamstrings. Starting a LP tomorrow. Will start with the weights you posted.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
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    Hudson, NH
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dbennettsr View Post
    I am 4 weeks post op from why laminectomy at the L3/L4. I developed a hematoma and was completely paralyzed from the waist down. Had to have follow up surgery two days from original. With that said, I have zero sciatica pain and almost zero surgery site pain. Just stiffness. My weakness in legs seems to be improving. Over the last several days my body has been telling me to get moving. I've been hitting some air squats and air deadlifts. Feels great, just tightness in my hamstrings. Starting a LP tomorrow. Will start with the weights you posted.
    Good luck and look forward to seeing your progress!

    What were your symptoms leading to surgery? Was your surgeon supportive of you lifting again?

  6. #6
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    Oct 2017
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    Hudson, NH
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    Brief update. Its now just short of 6 months since surgery. My back feels great although the numbness and tingling in my feet remain. I suspect this is permanent as I waited too long before having the surgery.

    Im up to 215 lbs and fully transitioned to an HLM program, training full body every 4th day. My current lifts are: squat 300x5; bench 245x5; deadlift 350x5.

    Overall I feel good and barring unforeseen setbacks, should be able to continue making progress for the foreseeable future.

  7. #7
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    Oct 2017
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    Hudson, NH
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    starting strength coach development program
    Its now just over 7 months since surgery and less than a week from turning 63. My back continues to feel great while feet continue to remain numb and tinglyas stated before, I think this is permanent, but is not limiting. More of a constant nuisance.

    Im up to 220 and my appetite has been high. Current lifts are: squat 325x5; bench 255x5; deadlift 375x5. Progress is good, but training sessions are hard and taxing. Ever onward!

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