/ Climbing after spinal surgery

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Trevor Langhorne on 13 Jun 2017
I am likely to be having spinal decompression surgery on my lumbar spine ( or,hopefully not, a spinal fusion). I can't climb at the moment due to restriction of movement. Has anyone experience of climbing after spinal surgery. If so how long did it take to recover from the op and what effect did it have on your climbing.
Fingers crossed.
Dave Cumberland - on 13 Jun 2017
In reply to Trevor Langhorne:

Trev, some would say "Don't do it".
I have no personal experience, but Alexander technique, Pilates, time is a healer, might work. has articles on benefits of avoiding surgery.
WildCamper on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to Trevor Langhorne:

Ive had spinal surgery (microdiscectomy) and it took me months before i felt right to get into a harness as it sits right where my scar is. When i did eventually get back into one, i tried sitting in it first before taking a drop on it which felt fine so have been ok to climb since
I'll never boulder again unfortunately as I cant risk landing funny amd making things worse

My injury has limited my range of motion but physio/yoga/pilates have improved things. I just have to take it easy and sit odd routes out sometimes.

Hope everything goes well for you
SenzuBean - on 14 Jun 2017
climber34neil - on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to Trevor Langhorne:
I guess everyone is different and their experiences will be different to yours, however I have also had spinal surgery . I started climbing again about 5 months after ( I walked as much as possible following surgery but only short distances and also after a few months did some gental swimming as well to promote mobility and muscle strength in my lower back) I started bouldering indoors on return to climbing with low level traversing and then just built it up when I felt I was able to. I guess it was probably another 6 months before I was back to feeling recovered . I would just say listen to your body and don't rush to much. Also I have no concerns at all about falling into a mat or wearing a harness although I do get occasional back pain but I think that's just old age!
Post edited at 06:51
bedspring on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to Trevor Langhorne:

Hi Trevor,

you need a consultant who understands your lifestyle. I had heart issues and my Doctors and Nurses literally did not understand my outlook and life aspirations. I got a new consultant via UKC. i.e. I recently had quite major surgery and he equated the risk in climbing terms for me. Also they have helped me access the best treatment for "me" via the NHS. Not everyone is the same and not all doctors understand this, but some do

Get well soon, you have promised me a day of Esoterica in Borrowdale
French Erick - on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to Trevor Langhorne:

I've had fused dorsal vertebrae for 18 years. I took me a real long time to get sorted to full health and movement but I dabbled with skiing and climbing within 4 months.

Someone talked about lifestyle. It never fully heals but it is completely manageable if you understand your injury and know what to change/tweak in your everyday life. For me it was a necessity. But I climb harder now than at the time and although I hardly ski now, I skied better (but in a different way) for 2 years after full recovery.

I do pay for big days, I see a sport physio every 2/3 months and I stretch a lot. If for whatever reason I stop doing it (life/kids...) I immediately regret it! Deep muscles have been altered.
Never got an operation, fused in place after being immobilised for some 5/6 weeks (I cannot remember the details).

In brief, don't give up what you like, don't let others tell you what you can do but don't be a fool either: your circumstances have changed.

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