I have a 'moderate' disc herniation at L5/S1 (though it's more like L5/L6 - I have an extra vertebra in my lumbar), confirmed by an MRI at the beginning of june this year. I've had it since the beginning of March 09 and so have been recovering for nearly 5 months. I'm 19 years old.
I'm happy with my condition right now and most of my symptoms are gone. No leg pain (I had sciatica in left), occassional a little tingling in toe, and when it gets sore or hurts, it's just right at the top of my buttock. Overall I think I've come quite a way and I have improved.
I do some exercises given to me by my chiropractor and walk between 3-6 miles everyday depending on how it feels. I ice everyday. I've been told I can't run or play sport yet since the disc herniation is quite sizeable. I have an appointment to see an orthopedic surgeon in late August - though my symptoms strongly suggest I don't need surgery of any kind, my chiropractor thinks it prudent to get an opinion from a surgeon as my problem has gone on longer than expected.
I really want to pick up swimming, because all the exercise I do currently is good, but doesn't get my heart rate up, and I realise I may still have many more months to go before I can start building up with jogging and towards sport. All the sports I used to play were high-impact and involved running. I've been attemtping swimming but I am really bad and the crawl and have been advised to avoid the breaststroke. I really want to swim because it's great exercise, fun, and will help keep me fit and aid in my recovery.
However I've been told that if you weren't a swimmer before, and I wasn't (I haven't swam for abou 4 years - and only used to swim casually) then swimming won't help and might make it worse. I'm somewhat inclined to belive this (though regretfully, because I don't want to give up on it), and I've gone a couple of times already and I've struggled to get going at all with the crawl and just end up stopping and starting and flailing in the water. I'm really worried about making it worse and don't want to do anything to aggravate it. I'm not very confident at all in the water and don't think my technique is anywhere near good enough, and it's very difficult to learn when you've got a serious injury hanging over you.
What do you guys think? Should I continue with my attempts to start swimming regularly (I want to build up to 3x a week) r just continue with brisk walking and core exercises? This is not an injury I want to mess about with, but there's so many benefits from swimming I don't want to miss out on them!
Thanks for reading