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strakerstraker Posts: 1,851
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:27 AM in Chronic Pain
hi all
i have just started swimming .as its the only thing that i can do .although i have not noticed any reduction in pain yet .i am hoping that i will in the future .i am lost for things to do as physio /chiro and pain clinic have not done me any good i thought that a gentle swim twice a week may help and also help remove some unwanted flab!! .do any off you nice people swim??


  • Hi Straker

    I am swimming 3 times a week and I feel so free from pain / limitation when I am swimming :) I mainly do front crawl with my face in the water and keep my back flat / straight. My first love is breast stroke, but since fusion surgery I have had to limit the number of lengths I do of it (so I don't put too much pressure on my lower back). Before surgery I couldn't do front crawl at all so I got lessons for about 7 months last year and now I can do 50 lengths of it at a time! I also do just kicking using a float which is good also.

    I did have a few "nerve scares" when I resumed swimming 6 weeks after surgery, but those symptoms settled and I can
    swim better now than I could before surgery :)

    I hope you enjoy swimming as much as me- it is a time for me to concentrate on nothing except the rythm of my stroke -it is almost hypnotic! (Unless someone cuts in front of me as I go to a community pool...that makes me mad!)I also hope that it gives you as much pain relief as it does me - sometimes I struggle to get up to go swimming at 6am before work, but the then I remember how much I need to do it!

    Start slowly and build up gradually :)Combined with walking, stretching and pilates it keeps me mobile!

    Best Wishes

    L4/L5 & L5/S1 Spinal Fusion and Decompression Surgery with Instrumentation 1st October 2007
  • hi! :H using the pool is the best therapy ever and a good way to lose some pounds. =D> there is no pressure on our joints and we become pain free in the water!! <:P it is a great way to get back into exercise and rev up your recovery.. be sure and follow your doctor' orders about any exercise program. good luck with the rest of your recovery!! =D> Jenny :)
  • }:) Yes swimming is wonderful!! Any water exercise for that matter. I am a former competitive swimmer and couldn't wait to get back in the water after my 3 back surgeries. At first I was a bit limited but now I can do just about everything I could do before surgery. My back always feels better after I have been in the water.


    Spinal stenosis, spondolysis, spondolythesis, L4/L5 laminectomy, L4/L5 360 fusion with instrumentation, L1 to L5 fusion with bone graft from hip, PT, accupuncture, prolotherapy, many cortisone injections, 4 rhizotomies.
    L4/L5 laminectomy, L4/L5 360 fusion with instrumentation, L1 to L5 fusion, L5/S1 fusion w/ disc replacement, left and right SI joints fused.
  • i am lucky as there is an indoor pool only about a mile away from my home ..i was a very good swimmer .but i am taking it easy at the moment because when i swim i find it hard work .so its just a little at the moment but i hope to work up to a decent amount of time in the future
  • We invested in an above ground pool 2 years ago, and I too thought this would be great way to exercise....i feel great in the water, until my feet go numb and the 'outsides(along the elbow side) of my arms and pinkie finger go numb as well. Not sure why, but this happens after I have been in there for a while.

    The other bad part is though I feel less pain in the water, i seem to pay a price for it afterwards. Again, not sure why.

    Enjoy the water...I wish you better luck then me
  • when i swim my right leg goes numb and like lead it hurts and my hip aches .but no pain no gain ! .its better than sitting on my but all day! i am hoping to loose some weight too but i know that will take a long time..some time ago i was on prednisolone {spelt wrong?} for chrones disease and i put 3 stone on then .so we bought a dog and i took him walks every day..nothing happened for about a year then all of a sudden the weight started to come off ..i lost all my drug induced weight .then my back went again and then i was immobilised so weight went back on again..i am very unfit at the moment and just going for a short swim really tires me out .just the getting ready /traveling and getting undressed and then swimming then doing the reverse to come home is a real effort..but i feel that its going to be worth it in the long run!
  • Hi Straker, water therapy is so good for you! I have had 4 lumbar surgeries and I find it painful to swim on top of the water. My PT suggested I try water walking in water about chest deep. Make sure to tuck in your hips so you don't arch your back. The low back works so hard with regular swimming! When I water walked I didn't have increased pain or numbness, in time the pounds just slid right off. And it felt so good to walk w/out pain if even for a little while. At first you feel really weak like your legs don't want to go, but every time you get stronger. I know it feels like a ton of work just to get out the door,you should give yourself a big pat on the back! Keep up the good fight.
    Keep Hope
    Faith M
  • I love my above ground pool! I have a solar cover to go on my pool to make my water warmer which feels grrreat!
    It is just a great big circle of "bubble wrap" that you can purchase at any pool supply place. My hubby took ours and cut large circles out of it so I can put them in and take them out with ease when I am alone...
  • i also pool walk .its not as good as swimming .but like you say its good for you as you are still getting some exercise
    i have been going twice a week but i am finding it hard work .luckily our pool have a large bubbly tank type thing with body jets and jacuzzi and foot jets so its a nice bit of pampering for us bad back people.i enjoy going .but hate getting changed and then i am a bit embarrassed about my weight so i get in to the pool as soon as possible!hopefully i will loose some weight after a few months or so!!i am going to keep it up because nothing else seems to help and the medical world have given up on me
    PS anyone in the bury manchester area go swimming? maybe we could go togeather> just a thought!!
  • I am so happy to hear you are swimming and pushing yourself through the pain. I want to start PT at this one place because it has a full gym and indoor pool and you get free membership to gym if you have PT there. I want to start water areobics or water walking or something in the water. I love to swim too but living in upstate NY it's hard this time of year and I can't afford a gym membership.

    Good for you Straker!! I am so proud of you as I am sure that Kathryn is too =D> <:P
  • There's a community pool a 1/4 mile away from my house. I started water walking two weeks ago. It feels great in the water but gravity hits ya as you come out of the water.

    I agree Straker, it is a lot of effort to get everything together, get there and even more of an effort to reverse everything and get back home! But it's a start, exercise wise. I'm surprised I wasn't in more pain the days following.

    Just saw my neuro's PA on Friday and he said I could swim with a float. I was SOOOOOOO excited. Figured it would be a breeze! Ha! Got in the pool and felt like an infant learning to walk! I couldn't stay in a straight line and it took FOREVER to get to the other side of the pool! I also had a sharp pain in my lower back. Don't know if that was my L5-S1 issue or if it was L3-L4 healing issues. But I think I'll try doing a bicycle move with a noodle rather that irritate my back further with the float.

    I too felt very self conscious as I've put on weight since my injury. The pool is a community pool but it was built by an organization that runs that adult living center, so there are lots of seniors there. The first day I walked in I wasn't sure where everything was. I walked into the ladies locker room saw a (clothed) lady and asked a question. There were four senior ladies at the other end of the room. Well, all four of them turn to me STARK NAKED and far from being in shape! HELLO! Talk about startling! Did not want to see that! They're walking around showing me the showers, hair dryers, etc., not one of them was the least bit shy about how they looked. Still not sure if they were senile or just very comfortable in their own skin.

  • I think that's why I keep putting off going to this gym because I am very self conscious as I have put on a lot of weight since I've been dealing with my back problems. I never liked being in public in a bathing suit even when I was fit and had no reason to be embarrassed so it's worse now.
  • due to an unbelievable exacerbation of my symptoms i have had to stop the swimming for now .i can't put myself through all the extra pain .i have not slept for days baring the odd hour or so and i have had to increase my pain meds! so no swimming for the moment!!
    a very disappointed STRAKER
  • so sorry to hear that you had to back off of the swimming - you were so excited - it is heartbraking to try and find it is just not for now. But give yourself credit for trying...sometimes the cp freezes us up and we don't even try.

    Perhaps with time or a lesser of what you were doing - may work out better for you - I hope that you are able to find a happy medium between the swimming and pain

    Good luck
  • i am going to leave the swimming for a week then try again
    i may have done too much !! so i will pace myself when i start again
  • Remember, buddy - BABY STEPS. Gotta start small and then increase gradually.

    How old is the picture in your avatar? You look great in that picture. Anyways, just wanted to chime in with some positive reinforcement for you.

    A wise man (or something or other) once said "I think I can; I think I can..." and by golly, he did! Pace yourself, and start off small. If you don't hurt the next day, you did great. Then, increase a little bit each week; or decrease depending on your pain level. Is the pool heated? Maybe that's where the difference is? Cold water vs Warm?

    About 2 years ago my son was playing on a tennis team; his younger brother and I went to the playground for a bit (he was getting bored watching the ball go back and forth and back and forth).

    I got on the swings. Each time I went up, I leaned my body back and was amazed that for a solid 2 seconds, I felt neither pain or pressure in my back. Each upward arc, 2 seconds of bliss. I didn't want to get off the swing! But I was going really high after a few minutes - real high, and I hate heights (well, I hate falling) so I slowed down and got off of it. Man... later that evening and for the next 2 days I coudn't move. But, I felt great for those 2 seconds. I am trying to remember what it felt like... It's been a while. I just remember it was wonderful.

    I am just pleased as pie that you have made the effort, experienced pain, and are determined to try again. That's MOXY, son. And not everyone has that. I admire and applaud you for it.

    Take care and above all - continue to listen to your body. Keep us posted on the progress I am sure you'll have.

  • it was taken on november 26 2008 in furteventura{last year}
  • I loved swimming, I did try I am built for distance and as you had to stop, I cycle now not in the pool, its on the sign along with petting, leave the cat at home then.

    Sport was me.com now a broken link, my boy is an S7 swimmer 50000m per week bless him, now teaching younger children to swim swims for GB.

    Have a rest Straker and try when the pain has lifted and good luck, keep your splits even.

    John, waiting for some sun, on your marks get set…….cycle.
  • hey Straker, hope you're feeling better. I tried swimming this week, it was awesome. Earlier this week, I swam for approx 30min laps back & forth, taking breaks to catch my breath, whew! Haven't swam in ages, as I stick to mostly jogging, step.. But I think I'll be swimming alot more in the future. I didn't get the chance to fully enjoy the fruit of my efforts since, unfortunately, I went back to the gym he next day I screwed things up by doing pilates :( (never again). I was too confident and pushed myself too hard. Been in bad shape/discomfort ever since.
  • jeaux: thank you for sharing your story. I know exactly what 2 secs you're talking about.. discouraging at times when you think about the freedom/the way things used to be.. we're all so limited now but like you said, one mustn't lose hope.. keep trying. I think, therefore I am (je pense donc je suis, Socrates). Can't go down without a fight!
  • swim at the moment as i am having one hell of a flare up! but as determined as i am i will be going this Friday .even if i only go to the bubble tank spa type thingy!!,at least its a start ..the last time i went i got carried away {thinking that i was back on the old school team!} and i did 32 lengths!!!i have been paying for it ever since
  • swim at the moment as i am having one hell of a flare up! but as determined as i am i will be going this Friday .even if i only go to the bubble tank spa type thingy!!,at least its a start ..the last time i went i got carried away {thinking that i was back on the old school team!} and i did 32 lengths!!!i have been paying for it ever since
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