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8 weeks post-surgery – tingling after swimming

kflee0kkflee0 Posts: 12
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:45 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi all,

I had a laminectomy with discectomy at L4/5 8 weeks ago. Is it too soon to start swimming? I tried swimming at the end of Week 4 (45 minutes, almost non-stop) and didn’t feel any pain during that time. But an hour later, I had tingling in both of my legs that lasted 3-4 hours. It wasn’t sharp pain, just tingling. I stopped swimming after that day and just continued with my daily walks.

Is it normal to have the tingling sensation? Is it because I haven’t exercised in such a long time? The surgeon said I should be able to swim after Week 2-3 if I feel comfortable. He said I should push through even with the tingling. Should I take his advice or should I wait? He said it could help strengthen my core muscles. I’m worried that if I do it too soon or pushed myself, I would have a recurrence. I don’t want to go through the pain and surgery again.

I walk 2 times a day, 40 minutes each time. I still can’t walk where there are slopes, even very gentle ones…I get pain in both legs for 2-3 hours after that. Is it normal to have pain when walking on slopes? If so, how long is it before I could do gentle slopes again?

I’m on and off anti-inflammatories now (on when the pain comes, off when it makes my stomach upset). Actually, he asked me to take Panadol only after Week 2 but I couldn’t stand the pain so he gave me more anti-inflammatories.

I went got my first physio at Week 7. The surgeon said it would help strengthen my core muscles.



  • Just remember that you are not very far out from your surgery. Your body is still healing and adjusting. I tend to just try and listen to my body and not push it. Swimming is low impact but I would think that if your core is weak you might be doing some twisting and things that could be irritating your back/legs. (I am definately not a doctor so this is all from my experience.) I know people that have had back surgery and are out doing normal things super fast. I just personally have never been able to do that. I think it's just an individual thing. Maybe keep walking and doing some core work then try it again in a couple weeks. Also maybe try 20 minutes instead of 40. You could have used irritated things a bit. As far as hills and pain, that took awhile for me to get better. Just keep on the flat areas for awhile. I sounds like you are doing pretty well, just listen to your body and keep up the good work.
  • I've not had lumbar surgery yet, but fully agree with Rwill. Swimming helps me, but if I push it, I feel it the next day in the form of mini 'nerve' spasms just a nudge above 'tingles.' My neck too fusses if I overdue - and that last surgery was almost a year ago! Like she said, let your body guide you, and don't push. That is the only "bad" about us spiney's, we feel a bit better and 'go for it', only to pay for it later.

    If the tingles continues, or is bothersome, give your doctor a call and tell him/her what's going on, and that maybe the swimming did it...just to get the doctors read on this. You're probably fine, but you might want to back down on the water like Rwill said to half what you did - you're early yet on recovery (doing well so far otherwise right?), so you have to let your body heal from your surgeons work. Please keep us posted. *hug*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Going on my experience with pool exercise, I believe my physio pushed me too hard and I was in agony after the first session. However, I persevered for 5 months and became worse and stopped.

    You're still in the early stages of healing and I would recommend just walking and doing gentle exercises in the pool rather than swimming. The swimming will cause you to twist your body.

    As for walking on the land, better to keep to the flat paths for now - I wouldn't be in a hurry to progress to gentle slopes yet. Give your spine time to heal and get strong again. We are impatient to get going again, but it's not worth causing yourself more pain.



    XLIF L2-4 20.8.15
    ALIF L4/5 2009
    Laminectomy/discectomy L4/5 2008
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