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Post-ACDF training

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  • Post-ACDF training

    Just over 7 months ago, I had ACDF at C6/7. It was severe before surgery. In a matter of 3 months I went from being pain free to being in extreme pain in my neck, right arm and hand. I had some numbness in my right hand also, particularly in the index and middle finger. My head cocked was cocked way over to the left side of my body almost 27/4, etc.

    Surgery went well, though I had persistent radicular pain for 2-3 months after surgery, without any numbness thankfully. Pain is now almost entirely abated, though at times I might have a little twinge of pain in my neck or on the top of my forearm. Mostly all gone though, and I feel great.

    My 6 month Xrays showed the fusion is progressing perfectly. I asked the doctor if I was cleared for activity, and he said yes. I asked about scheduling my annual snow skiing trip in 6 months, and he said go for it.

    I then asked him about returning to regular lifting. Asked about squatting and deadlifting. He asked why in the world I'd want to do that anyway? I couldn't hide my eye rolling from him.

    He's not a lifter of course. Doesn't get it. Said I shouldn't put a bar on my shoulders. Shouldn't lift heavy overhead, etc. I have obviously researched this, and have found this type of advice to be common in the early stages of recovery. I also have found DPT's and other doctors who say a return to lifting is perfectly acceptable.

    So I've been low bar squatting and deadlifting with very moderate weights at RPE6 or less. Feels great. I've not pressed overhead yet, but have been doing some light lateral raises and upright rows. Feels great also.

    Three general questions here without putting you guys on the spot for direct medical advice.
    Any reason to think I can't begin to work more progressively and pressing overhead, slowly over time?
    Also, is high bar squatting something I should be cautious about? What about SSB since it places the load over the traps?

    You guys are awesome. Thanks in advance!

  • #2
    I would continue with slow progressive loading. There is no reason to avoid overhead pressing and it will all be relative to what you can tolerate. I wouldn't be concerned about HBBS or SSB either. The problem is when we don't have a specific case showing something "works" we tend to stray on the conservative side of recommendations but the other side of the coin is there is no reason why you can't get back to training and doing the things you love.


    • #3
      Thanks for the response. As mentioned, I haven't been doing any significant training for about 10 months now, other than some very light dumbbell and barbell work. I've been thinking about getting back into things using the 3-day Medium Intraset Fatigue template which seems to keep most things around RPE 7 for the volume work. And then I can work that progressively over time. Sound like an okay approach if I can tolerate the workloads over time without pain?