How long should I not play sports after laminectomy surgery with screw placement?

Q. I underwent L2 laminectomy and screw placement three years ago. When can I play sports?

Answered by
Dr. Atul Prakash
and medically reviewed by Dr. Sushrutha Muralidharan
This is a premium question & answer published on Jan 06, 2022

Hi doctor,

I had undergone L2 laminectomy with L1 to L3 pedicular screw fixation three years ago due to a fall from height. I resumed almost all the activities except running, heavy lifting, jumping, and sports. My question is about back pain management. How can I strengthen my back for life long? Will I be able to play sports and running in the future time? How much weight should I lift? Kindly give your opinion.



Welcome to

By now, you should have been able to do all sports except heavy weight training and collision sports. The strengthening exercises for your back should have started as early as three months post-surgery, as the tissues would have healed by then. It is not too late to start now. Start with mobility exercises followed by strengthening exercises.

Running on a soft surface like lawn, etc., is fine for now. You can start jumping after your back has regained adequate strength as muscles act as shock absorbers.

Weight training free weights for the upper body is fine, and machine weights are acceptable as long as your back is supported fine. Free weights for your back and butts will depend on your progress. And again, be sensible that your back is never going to be normal, so trying to lift weights that you lifted prior to injury is not impossible but something with only limited returns.

I hope this was helpful.

Thank you doctor,

Is it possible to remove my screws? Please give me an appropriate exercise chart for back strength and core strength. How can I manage my anxiety and stress about back pain? How to make my back more strong?



Welcome back to

Yes, the implant can be removed. But this will not be a normal course. Even though the fracture has healed, the pedicle screws connected by rods provide mechanical function. The ability to keep the gap would be lost. The screws are well placed and they are not prominent. So there is no much sense in removing the metalwork. You can do this under the supervision of a physiotherapist. Start doing core and back strengthening exercises. But I recommend you start doing mobility exercises first and gradually build up muscles. I will not recommend seeing charts or videos and starting off yourself without guidance.

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