Monday, September 15, 2014

My Spinal Fusion Scoliosis Recovery Formula

Notes :- I had Posterior Spinal Fusion for Scoliosis on 17/2/2014. I underwent this treatment at  UMSC (University Malaya Specialist Center).  My surgery was lead by Prof Kwan Mun Keong. University Malaya Specialist Centre  (UMSC) is the private wing of Pusat Perubatan University Malaya (PPUM).

At current I am in my 7th months post operation. I am really glad that I undergone this spinal surgery.  Besides having a number of my health problem resolve it also improve my self-confidence and self-esteem.

I hope my sharing on scoliosis and me will serve as an encouragement to those who have spinal deformities like me. There is hope/help for you in today modern medical technology.


14th Aug 2014 is my 6th month post operation clinical appointment.  I have “butterflies in my stomach”.  What would my full spine x-ray show?  Are the titanium screws intact? What would my spine surgeon says once he look at my 6th months post operations full spine x-ray?  Would he deliver bad news and suggest that I need to undergo another surgery because the fusion does not happen as per expectation?  Would there be any possibilities during fussing of spine process my spine curve increase before it fully settle down in fully fussed up stage?  Increase due to certain sleeping posture and some minor twisting position I did during my clothes wearing?

These are my thoughts while I was driving down to UMSC for my clinical appointment at 2.30pm.  After the full spine x-ray taken I took the lift to head to the waiting area of room 12 – Prof Dr Kwan’s clinic at UMSC.  There are so many people waiting together with me. Among them I notice a foreigner elderly man in big body build but he is in so much pain.  Is he having spinal problem that lead him to have problem even with simple mobility?  From his look he might be from the Saudi Arabic country.  Those relatives who gave him a helping hand to assist him to walk into room 12 speak in foreign language.  Wooow… my spine doctor must be world famous. He has patients come all the way from the far foreign land. 

Soon my name “Wong Chor Mun” was being called.  I walk into his room greeted my surgeon.  With a worry heart I ask him are all the titanium screw and rods that hold my spine intact and not loosen. He blow up my spine x-ray image and comments “….your spine is fussing up.. very good .. you are doing very well. There is no dark ring nor hollow ring around the screws.  I expect this kind of result in 9th months post ops due to your age but your recovery progress like the teenager….You are no longer on any weight lifting restriction …however you not allowed for any competitive sports and high risk activities… continue your swimming and the superman exercise to build and strengthen your core muscles.  You are allowed to do your own exercise. You are allowed to do light running…”

Yahoo…with those statement my heart is relieve but  But … huh.. my naive and simple brain cannot apprehend what is competitive sports.  He explained to me competitive sports are eg relay races, football, basketball, cross country… Woooh…oooh Hah!! no more weight lifting restriction!… I can plan to go for holiday… 

From a 64 cobb degree I have being corrected to 25 cobb degree 
Now I have a balance shoulder (My frontal plane has being corrected). My gravity line has improve (I have a better sagittal plane. 
Hmmmm since I am not allowed for any stress activities until 18th months post ops..then a light and easy… eating… sightseeing … birding holiday with do I guess?
Yes!!! I can wear back my trekking shoes very soon...
From my own experience, spinal fusion heals as intended is not a loop sided responsibility to stop at sourcing the best spine doctor in town to get the spinal implant properly installed only.  It also required the commitment of the patients post-operative cares that leads to the successful spine fusion result.  We need to aware that during recovery stage we need to modify our movement in order to avoid no body bending, twisting and not allowed to carry/lifting things with more than 3 kg.  If the patient body mass is lower, then the weight lifting restriction is even smaller than 3 kg. 

Every movement need to be very careful during recovery period to avoid destroying the surgeon’s handiwork.  I have a good laugh when I discovered that I am not the “weirdo” who do bed turns with my eyes wide open and cautious mind in the initial recovery period.

Click on this  link to find out what need to take precaution during recovery

                          watch this you tube clips to find out what need to take precaution

Even though with the list of NO and don’t, I am being prescribe to perform some exercises (physiotherapy).  This is essential to work out the muscles and to promote new muscles growth to support the new spine.  

From day 1 we are encourage to walk.  During the hospital stay in between of bed rest we are to increase the amount and length of walks each day. Once I am allowed to go outdoor that is after the bandage removal, I do brisk walking for at least 10 – 15 minutes daily.

Core muscle stretching exercises
Before discharge from the hospital, the physiotherapist thought me 2 form of exercises that I need to do 1st thing in the morning and before I retire for bed.  His advice to me “Perform this while lying on the bed for 20 times… once in the morning and before you sleep.”

1.  Bridging exercise

2. Sit up and down on a chair or wall squat.

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As my recovery progress to the 4th month 
I being advice to do swimming 4 times a week.  There are times I do the night session swim also my skin got tan.

Have the routine superman/thoracic extension exercise 1st thing in the morning and before retire to bed exercise.  The superman exercise/thoracic extension exercise and swimming as the physiotherapy is indeed very helpful in gaining back my back flexibility. 

Click on this link to find out how to strengthen your spine..

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Unlike the youtube video clips, we need to perform this lying on bed.  I discovered the mattress need to be hard in order to perform this.  Due to this exercise is quite strenuous for spinal fusion after ops patient, it need to be done in great care.  Being advice by my surgeon to start with only 2 repeatedly times for the 1st week and increase progressively until 20 times over the week as per his prescription.

Is there any particular food to stimulate bone fusion?
My surgeon advice to all of his after ops patients is no “pantang” (abstain) on food.  A balance diet will do.  To play safe in order for me to avoid fusion failure and quick recovery on the incision scars, below is what I practice.

Protein that my muscles need in order to heal more quickly.
Food that are high in PROTEIN are

The bones need Calcium and zinc in order to heal more quickly and fussed up properly.
Adequate calcium is the requirement for spinal fussed up properly.  Food rich with calcium are
Personally I change my daily breakfast menu to a cup of milk, two pieces of bread & a slice of cheese.  To top up the remaining calcium I use calcium vitamin pill where I ritually pop in after lunch and dinner.

The skin required vitamin C to promote the wound to heal faster and nicely.
Vitamins C that are found in many fruits and vegetables are essential to wound healing because it helps the body to form new cells/tissue.

1 comment:

Douglas Brown said...

These are all extremely effective and healthy exercises! I have minor scoliosis, so I fortunately do not have to get any surgery. These types of things are exercises that I really need to make more of a habit to keep my spine strong. Thanks for the info and post!