Medical Questions > Conditions and Diseases > Spinal Injuries Forum

L4/L5 Spinal Fusion Ice Hockey Player

Hello all, after months of therapy not getting better the dr finally tell me that I need to get a fusion. I am just wondering if anyone knows if I will be able to play ice hockey again. I have seen a few neurosurgeons to get multiple opinions about the surgery and they all agree that i need the surgery but tell me a different thing about being able to play. So what I was wondering is if anyone has had a fusion or knows someone who has had one and is able to return playing.
thanks
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First Helper Oldhockeypuck55
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replied April 22nd, 2014
I play mens league non-check hockey. I think I ran into a guy (not literally) a couple years back that said he had back surgery but I'm not sure if it was fusion or disc-related. He was playing and said he was doing well. I think he was a lot younger than me (I'm 56 now) so I don't think his problem was degenerative. From what I've read, when you fuse 1 or 2 joints, it causes the adjacent joints to handle more twisting and lateral stresses and can accelerate those discs herniating or wearing out. Also there is risk for the fusion to fracture. I know how the skating motion induces some twisting and axial stress down there by the hard acceleration when taking a stride. Also, if you fall on your backside hard enough, that might injure the fusion site. Since this is almost a year after your post, I'd like to know how you dealt w/ your problem. I have spondylosis (arthritic changes) in my L4-L5-S1 area and the nerve roots are pinching enough that causes burning, etc. but it doesn't go down my leg- just in my low back. Everytime I play a game and do some hard skating, the following week I'm hurting and have to take it easy. So I'm probably done w/ hockey unless this symptom goes away on its own. I do a lot of cycling too and that doesn't seem to bother my low back as much since I'm bent over and that opens up the vertebrae. But the muscles place a lot of stress in the low back to keep it in place during the pedaling motion and that causes stiffness if I overdo it- >30 miles.
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