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3 Level Lumbar Fusion and Swimming

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,000
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:23 AM in Exercise and Rehab
I am almost 6 months post-op and would like to try swimming. I have been walking in the pool for the last couple of months. What strokes would you recommend and which ones would you stay away from? Thanks...


  • Hello DelawareGirl
    I had a three level hybrid on April 22nd (Charite ADR L3/L4, L4/L5 and ALIF at L5/S1)
    I was told to walk in the water as well and now in my 7th week. It is so boring isn't it - but I do think it is doing some good in firing up the core stab muscles. With others swimming lengths and me walking widths I've become a bit of a hazard. I've now been told to try and run in the water, holding on to a styrene float. This then engages the important multifidis muscles (low back). My surgeon has said I can try floating on my back and gentley kicking but not to use arms. Definitely not breast stroke. But pretty soon I can try front crawl but keeping head well down in the water and making sure to alternate sides to breath.
    Are you doing any stretching or Pilates exercises or Swiss ball work in addition to your walking in the water.
  • Brian,

    I haven't tried running in the water yet. I am doing a little bit of floating on my back. I am having some problem with nerve pain above my right ankle. I have not tried the crawl. I am walking about 3 miles every other day. I was going to PT but stopped because it was making the nerve pain worse. I see the surgeon on Friday and we shall see what he says. The other exercises I am doing are leg lifts to the front, back and both sides, raising up on my toes, and squatting with my back straight at the knees. Are all three levels fusing? I was thinking of trying yoga - but I am not sure. B)

    Delaware Girl
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  • Hello Delaware Girl
    I'm still getting nerve pain in my left foot and toes - very painful isn't it. You are probably having x-rays when you see the surgeon next and that will show if you are fused yet. I last had x-rays on 22nd August and was told I was now fused (L5/S1). I used to do some yoga before surgery but have been told to hold off going back yet for a while longer as some of the positions could be a bit dangerous. Pilates is probably a lot better as it gives you stretches and recruits the right muscles that need toning after surgery and strengthening to provide support of the spine. These muscles tend to shut down with surgery and inactivity.
    Good luck Friday - keep us posted
  • Hi Brian and Delaware Girl

    I've njust posted my op details in the Back Surgery forum for October, but am having 3 level s1/l5/l4/l3 fusion and 2 discs replaced in October

    What advise can you give me? Anything ? Can I move post op, toilet, teeth cleaning all worry me. Any things you wished you'd done before hand? My leg muscles ache in the mornings at the moment, so I am going to start toe lifts and see if that loosens them off, but I am open to any suggestions, no matter how bad.

    Keep walking and floating you guys!
  • Snoopy,

    Sorry, it took so long to get back to you. I did the following things and was really glad that I did. I had either my mother or a friend spend the first week after surgery in my house. It saved me a lot of worry. The raised seat on the toilet, the chair in the shower, and the grabber were things
    i could not have lived without. I did not have the razor extension when i got out of the hospital and wish that i had bought one. The hospital bed has been and still is a godsend.

    One of the neighbors brought me a bell - like the old teacher's bell to ring when I needed something. It worked really well- especially the time i flooded the bathroom and everyone was outside.

    The other thing that i did was take milk of magnesia - a stool softener. That was probably the best thing I did prior to the surgery. I was never constipated after the surgery. One tablespoon at night a couple of days prior to the surgery and then twice a day after the surgery until all the anesthesia was out of my system.

    I also walked all over the neighborhood with the walker. My balance was off for a couple of months and I kept thinking I was going to fall. Folks would stop and telll me I was looking much better.

    Good luck and keep us posted on how you are doing.

    Also, the surgery was the best thing I ever did!

    Delaware Girl O:)
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  • Its hard waiting and wondering if I've chosen the right route to take, but then someone else mentions how much it has helped them, and I know it's right.

    I've got the grabbers and the lumbar support belt. A recliner for the lounge - or sofas are too low - and have a week off before the op to get everything straight.

    Hope you are doing ok

  • I was given permission to swim at 3 months. Freestyle and of course no there were days that it hurt me I stopped and try it another day. I'm up to swimming 1/2 mile and I am now at 7mos. I have found freestyle the easiest.
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