Training After ACDF Surgery

Life After Surgery

This is my first post about my recovery  from my ACDF surgery. (See My Story section on About Me page) First of all I had a great doctor, Dr.  James C. Pingree at Wasatch Neurosurgery and Spine Associates. Dr. Pingree was very progressive in his treatment. He had me move my neck as much as possible the day after surgery, he didn’t recommend a neck brace and he encouraged me to start walking as soon as possible. However,  I couldn’t lift any more the 10 lbs. My wife was great, she got me up and we started walking the next day. Then we walked twice the following day. Walking was about all I could do for the first few weeks. After a few weeks I started walking by myself and then I worked up to walking for over an hour.  After my four week check up I was able to start driving again and lift up to 20 lbs. Up to this point I think I only rode in the car about twice, and one of those was to see the doctor.

Back To Work

After the four week checkup I was able to start working from home, as most of my work is on a computer  I could telecommute; however, Dr. Pingree mentioned working behind a computer puts a lot of stress on the neck and I could feel it. I worked for half days the first week then full days the next week. Working from home allowed me to work for awhile then rest. In the sixth week I started to drive to the office and started working full days.  I still would have soreness at the end of the day, but this went away in a few weeks. After about eight weeks I was able to work a full day,  which sometimes is 10+ hours, without any soreness. I was still restricted to what I could do. I Couldn’t lift anything over 20 lbs or do anything to jar my neck. I had to wait for the three month check up before all restrictions would be lifted.

Back To Working Out

In the fifth week I drop by my gym. My gym isn’t the typical gym, I train at Krav Maga Utah in Sandy, Utah. The head inductor is Joesph Gleed who is a Wingate certified 2nd degree black belt. If you are not familiar with Krav Maga watch this video. I started training after about the sixth week; although I didn’t go all out as I was waiting for the three month check up. I couldn’t do a lot of the drills or exercises, but I did what I could do and as I was in the instructor training program I was able to help out during class.

Before the surgery I would train in the early AM. So, I  started to get up early and started walking. But I didn’t just walk. I did power walking with weights. I started with  1 lbs. dumb bells and moved up to 5 lbs. I would walk for about an hour punching, doing curls, shrugs,  etc. I did however stay away from overhead moves. I had an app on my phone which would track my distance, speed and time walking; it was a great tool which I use to measure my progress. It is the standard Google tracks app.

After Three Months

At the three month check up the doctor removed all restrictions, but said the bones wouldn’t be fully healed for six months. At this point I started going to the 6:00 AM Krav class. And I would go to the evening  Level 1 classes and assist with the training when needed. Since I was already getting up early for walking it was easy to start going to class again. Still, I didn’t want to do too much until the six month period was up. Before the surgery my routine was; Krav Tuesday and Thursday and cross fit Monday, Wednesday and Friday: Saturday was fight class followed by an hour of sparring. But cross fit would have been too stressful at three months, so I decided to do Yoga instead. Just a note I didn’t start sparring until after six plus months.

Past Six Months with a Different Training Attitude

I am now in the eight month and doing most of what I was doing before. However, because of my experience I have changed my training, my attitude and my perspective which is the subject of my next post.