Severe muscle atrophy after 6 level back fusion cannot move my vertebrae feel like grinding rocks why please?

I suffer from muscle atrophy because I don't move much and had to lie for 4 months in hispitals. My hands and arms for instance are forming holes where muscles have been. The rest of my body also. My buttock muscles also nothing. Extremely painful to sit or lie down. My feet are so atrophied I walk on foot bones and tendons...

Any ideas please?

11 Replies

  • It sounds like you need very specialist physiotherapy - do you have any scheduled?

    A physiotherapist and/or OT should be able to advise you on less painful way to sit, move around, accomplish day to day activities etc.

  • What type of specialist physiotherapist please?

  • There are physiotherapists with a specific interest in muscle loss/atrophy and general deconditioning associated with cancer, ME/CFS, neurological conditions etc.

    What is available will vary from one CCG to another - this is something where the neurological/surgical team that worked with you, and your GP, should have a good overview of what's available and would be relevant to your level of deconditioning and muscle loss.

    The Walton Centre gives an idea of what can be available - and there are various teaching hospitals that have a similar portfolio or specialise in other conditions/groups:

  • Thank you so much for your informative reply. Unfortunately we don't have that services in South Africa. Now what please?

  • In the UK we have a Chartered Society, so I'd hope there is a SA equivalent or even that the hospital physiotherapists could inform you of the relevant specialities.

    For overall reconditioning and atrophy, if you have to go it alone, then the exercises recommended on sites for SMA, ME or CFS would be the most obvious sources.

    Do you have access to neither physiotherapy nor occupational therapy?

    As other commenters mention, there are YouTube videos for exercises that might be appropriate. The exercises in this one are some of the standards and some of the wheelchair exercise videos might be helpful - as might the isometric exercise videos.:

  • The SA Physiotherapy Society should be able to discuss specialities with you and make useful suggestions for referrals for somebody with your various conditions:

  • They are not really operational

  • You will have physiotherapists. My chiropractor has advised me on exercises specific to my muscle atrophy. You definitely need specialist help that takes account of your fusion.

    I am very surprised that the hospital didn't provide you with a recovery programme. Is it possible the surgeon's team can advise ?

    Best of luck


  • I also had pretty severe atrophy in my leg, back and glute muscles following multiple prolapsed discs and two lots emergency laminectomy surgery.

    I'm afraid the only way I've found to improve it has been in the gym, using targeted resistance / weight / Pilates etc type training under guidance of a skilled Personal Trainer.

    I am about 12 months into this now and it has been hard work and painful, but I am now seeing results.

    Two things - if there is nerve damage such that you can't activate the muscle at all then no amount of exercise will work. You have to be able to actually use the muscle group in order to increase its mass. And also the glutes (buttocks) are the biggest muscles in the body and the hardest to isolate. They take longer than the rest to recover.

    I agree with the other poster that a physiotherapist would be a good starting point. My only concern with that is that unless you have unlimited funds, you will probably only get a few sessions and then have to go away and do the exercises on your own.

    For comparison I have been seeing a PT 3 times a week for a year. Without her help I would not have had the same level of recovery.

    As far as managing the situation, have you asked for a referral to an Ocupational Therapist? They can assist in the day to day stuff, and advise on adaptations and modifications to your living environment and / or workplace.

    You could ask your GP for a referral.

    All the best.

  • If you can't afford physio etc you can Google exercise that doesn't allow you to use your spine. Arm, leg and gluet exercise can be done laying or standing. If you can afford to go to a gym they will show you what aquiptment you can use and what to avoid

  • Oh I'm so sorry for you you must be suffering so much .I agree with ITYFIALMCTT you need specialist help .Why didn't they help you in hospital .Please let us know if you get help ,wishing you all the best and sending a cyber hug xx😇

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