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How long after spinal fusion until you can start swimming?

I've recently had spinal fusion to correct scoliosis.
I am now 7 weeks post op and I am just dying to get back in the pool swimming?

Anyone have any ideas or previous experience on getting in the pool post surgery?



  • I was told I could get back in the water as soon as my incission healed.... so I'd imagine 7 weeks its well healed.... call the nurse to doube check.
    33yo mom of two. My surgical history...preadolescence scoliosis, kyphosis, and a hot mess.... 5 spine surgeries and lots of items added I wasn't born with (titanium, peek, surgical steel). Guess cremation is out. TSA loves me.
  • My doc said 6 weeks as long as the incision was healed
    1/16/2013 Minimally invasive TLIF with rods, screws, and cage on L5/S1 joint to treat grade 2 spondylolysthesis, pars defect, degenerative disc disease. Dealt with chronic pain & nerve issues since at least 2007.
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  • Said as soon as the incisions healed. One of mine was being stubborn so I can now just get back in the pool (my fusion was 10/29/12).

    Single level L5/S1 360 fusion with 6 screws and a rod (10/29/12)
    Diagnosis: Grade 1-2 spondylolithesis, Pars Defect, L5/S1 disc tear anterior and posterior, DDD, spinal stenosis
  • At nine weeks post L 4-5 fusion I started pool therapy (not actual swimming.) The chairback brace came off at week 8, and I was amazed at how much energy it took just to hold myself upright. Nevertheless, I was looking forward to starting more intensive PT.

    My doctor's standard postop PT orders are light frequent walking and light home PT till fusion start is confirmed on xrays. Then the brace comes off, and he wants one month of pool PT before ramping up to land based PT including progressive weight training.

    Water is deceptive. The buoyancy makes you feel weightless. I got into the pool at the PT clinic and reveled at walking through the water for fifteen minutes to warm up, then went on to the stretching exercises that the physical therapist was giving me. I delighted at being able to strrrreeettttchhh for the first time in weeks! I felt great--as long as I was in the water.

    Once I got out of the therapy pool to move over to the jacuzzi pool, gravity hit me like a ton of bricks, and every recently unused muscle I had, or didn't even know I had, was calling me everything but a child of Jesus for this sudden demand for doing real work! I thought that they would have to call the SWAT team to get me out of the jacuzzi--I didn't want to go back to mean old Mister Gravity, but honestly, the force of the jets was even too much on my suddenly insulted muscles and tendons.

    I had a day off from PT today, and had to use pain meds and muscle relaxers, as well as my TENS unit a couple of times.

    I know I have to do this, but honestly, I'm almost dreading going back tomorrow morning.

    Just remember how seductive and deceptive that water is, and don't overdo at first, otherwise, you'll be hunting for a bottle of gin to kill the soreness!

    I'm not a spinal diagnosis. I'm a human being with a spinal diagnosis.
  • I had a 360-degree fusion, L4-S1 back on November 29. I have been itching to get back in the pool and swim.
    I have been in PT for about 4 weeks; I asked the therapist and she told me she would not recommend swimming for me now -- she thinks my core is too weak.

    I was also told by my doctor NOT to just jump in, to wait to have a therapist train me on how I'll have to swim for a while. For example, doing a front crawl (freestyle), I will have to swim with a snorkel for a while, since rolling/twisting to breathe puts stress on your spine.

    I hate hate hate hate all the restrictions, but I gotta keep the long-view in mind. I don't want to do this sh!t again!
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  • My neurosurgeon (a sport medicine specialist) cleared me for swimming after clear signs of fusion were seen after my ALIF redo.

    I was restricted to backstroke, for the core engagement and because I had a loose screw and crawl would be too wiggly and hard on the facet joints (where I'd also had synovial cysts removed)
  • I had my 6 week appointment (I'm almost at 8 weeks now) and was cleared for water walking and pool PT if I could find it actual swimming yet....just walking and floating.
    1/16/2013 Minimally invasive TLIF with rods, screws, and cage on L5/S1 joint to treat grade 2 spondylolysthesis, pars defect, degenerative disc disease. Dealt with chronic pain & nerve issues since at least 2007.
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