How much walking post lumbar surgery?
Hi, guys! I just underwent open posterior laminectomies of the L2-S1 on 13 Nov and have a question about how much walking I should be doing now. The surgery went well and the pain has been well-managed for the most part. By the time I left the hospital (Saturday) I was walking the hall 3-4 times a day going about 500-700 feet each time. I was tired and straining by the end of the walk, but the additional pain usually subsided in 1/2 hour or so. I am using a lumbarsacro brace and also doing the limited exercises they gave me to do.
Today at home, I walked twice outside going about 1200ft each time taking about 20-25 minutes for the walk. (I hadn't realized it was that far at the time.) I had planned on walking about 4 times a day, but after the second one was pretty pooped and hurting. It took about an 1-2 hours for the pain to decrease back to "normal", and my back has been much stiffer when getting up or sitting down all evening.
The instructions I got were very general re walking as much as possible, and didn't really provide any guidelines. Doing internet research I've come across a few guidelines, suggesting that one should walk 5-10 blocks a day. Of course, it doesn't give a distance for what constitutes a block, which I've found run anywhere from 100-900 ft. I've also seen here on this forum where many discuss the need for walking and basing it on pain levels.
So my questions are -- is it better to walk farther fewer times a day or to walk more often, but shorter distances? If I base distance on pain levels, how do I judge what is an acceptable level of pain? I realize that some of this is individualized based on a lot of different factors, but given all the experience on this site, I'm hoping you all can give me some points to consider.
I'm 50, overweight and have a sedentary job. I had an ACDF of C4-7 last Nov, thoracic laminectomies with fusion/instrumentation of the T3-4 and T9-10 in Sept and now the lumbar surgery. Other than that, I'm fairly healthy. Any thoughts would be appreciated!