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Aqua Therapy suddenly very painful for the lower lumbar?

Aviatrix36440Aviatrix36440 Posts: 5,904
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:55 AM in Spinal Stenosis
A little over a year ago I got a pool so I could do aqua therapy at home. Even though I live in South Florida, pools are not that easy to get too!

When I told my NS of my pool, somehow he miss heard and thought I "hurt" when in the pool. He seemed very alarmed until I corrected him. My spine was loving the break from the support of the water. It was a great fit!! That being said.

The last two times I've done my "walking" in the pool, my lower lumbar has been screaming! If I lean forward in the pool (bowing my back a bit), it still hurts, but lends some relief. My feet also go numb with this, and then cramp hard (both). If I stop walking and wiggle around a bit, I also get some relief, but the aqua walking is kicking my butt.

My question. Those of you with stenosis in the L5/S1 that use aqua therapy and the walking, does yours hurt in the pool? I'm actually still "paying" for it presently, and I've been out of the pool for about 5 hours. Second question, why would a surgeon get "concerned" if you hurt in the pool? Is there something I am missing here?

I see a new surgeon (OS this time) in two weeks, so of course this will be brought up, but just curious if anyone ran into this, and was it a big deal? Thanks in advance.

PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.


  • i suffer when i go swimming {not so much while i am doing it } but an hour or so later then for days and days after .not nice ..i love to swim and did so every day befor my back went.its bad enough we are in pain on land you would have though at least in the water we could get some rest bite
    tony x
    1997 laminectomy
    2007 repeat laminectomy and discectomy L4/L5
    2011 ALIF {L4/L5/S1}
    2012 ? bowel problems .still under investigation
    2014 bladder operation may 19th 2014
  • Howdy Tony,

    I guess my issue is (and my pool is 28x15) I walked the length, and then back, and man o man o the lower back just bloody well screamed!! This is new for sure, and here it is almost 6am and have not been able to sleep, yeah, that much ouch.

    I know there are issues with my spinal Epidural Lipomastosis, but sheesh.... Even typing this response, if I once again "bow" my back, still pain, but a bit of relief. I hope things aren't changing too bad.. :)

    So I guess for me, in pool, and after pool has kicked my butt twice now. Sniff.... This so "bites" as my pool was my bud!

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Me having lower back issue now over 20 years. Pool is about the only thing that should help taking the pressure of the gravity off the lower back. If it hurts to walk in a pool then you almost should not be able to walk at all on land. Unless you have a spine condition where its not stable enough and the force walking against the water force is pushing the spine back to where it causes pain or something.

    See if the same thing hapens walking backwards in the water. If that causes pain also then i would just use the water to float just to take some stress off the spine for a while. Just to give the disc a break in the lower back to decompress while floating and just work on the uper body while doing it slowly.

    I go to the pool here most of the winter at the ymca and pool is the last thing that will cause pain. Sure you will hurt especialy if you start swiming and stuff because we are so out of shape not doing activity because of our spine condition that all the muscles we not using dailey are now being used.

    I dont mind the hurt i get from swiming because i know a lot of it is muscle burn and it actualy helps mask the nerve pain.

    If pool is making you hurt by walking in it then not sure how you are able to walk at all on land. Not sure if you can float on your back but that feels great. I can float around for hours and spine gets a litle releif from the regular stress of siting and standing.
    Flexicore ADR 2004 resulting nerve damage l4l5 Fusion 2006 same level, 2009 hardware removal with lami !
    2012 scs implant ,
  • "Walking on land..." I can't stand for more than a few minutes (about the time you wash two dishes!), and walk with a cane. The pain I get when standing, or trying to walk more than around 20 feet without a cane is about the same location that hurts walking in my pool.

    Backwards, funny you mention that. I did do some backwards walking, and the pain wasn't near as bad. My pool is an oval 28x15, and I started feeling pain as I ended the first length, and as I started back, I had to stop - the pain ramped up that fast.

    Because of my neck, I swim funny, but can float pretty good, and YES, very comforting indeed! :)

    I have an upper lumbar that "pops" all the time, and I swear I can feel it move, but we haven't x-rayed to see if indeed something is moving, but this pain was lower in the lumbar. My upper actually seemed quite relaxed and happy in the pool.

    I am now 24 hours out, and *still* hurting! Sigh... With remnants of "Emily" coming in, no pool time today. I'm hoping these last 2 episodes were either a bad day or a fluke. Otherwise something has/is changing down there, and I would guess not for the good. I still love my pool!! 8>

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,845
    the temperature of the water. When I was using the local Y for aqua therapy, it never felt right. The water was no more than 80 degrees. When I started using the therapeutic pool I go to now, it made a big difference. The water temp is between 94 and 98.

    That has made the difference for me. In the State of CT, when the water temp of a pool is over 92 degrees, you need to have a therapist on site and a doctor available within 5 minutes.

    I am not sure if the water temp has anything to do with your situation, but I figured I would offer my two cents
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • Ron,

    I myself have found that my feet cramp pretty bad if the water temps are below 85 degrees, so I agree temperature *can* make a difference in some ways.

    My pool temp is around 88 degrees and increasing on our sunny days, so I don't think it is too cool - or cool enough for the lumbar to hurt like it did. I also had more foot numbness vs cramping. Certain positions seem to make the cramping worse, but yesterday they only cramped a few times, but the numb was pretty frequent.

    The lower lumbar pain ramping up so fast really got my attention though. Now with the remnants of "Emily" leaving, I am hoping I can get back in the pool. We are suppose to be high 90's this week (heat index normal for down here around 110-115), so that water should get real toasty!

    My hubby is going to make me a new deck with shallow stairs for the pool, as my thighs can't handle the ladder without *real* careful attention - getting down can be worse! Sigh...

    I see my new surgeon on the 17th, couldn't come soon enough for me! (G) He is an Orthopedic spine (fellowship/board cert) surgeon, so we'll see. I have a feeling my neck will win the attention game first...again! Thanks Ron!!

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • I wore a float belt while walking in the water for Physiotherapy and it was so relieving to float walk. After taking off the float belt I injured myself and have not been back to pool therapy and I moved from the heated pool. Do you have a float belt? Not a noodle unless you just want to float around. Take care. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • I don't have a float belt, but have what is called a 'duck'. You put it between your legs and the ducks head and tail rise up to your stomach and back so you can walk. I wasn't using this the last two times I walked.

    Not sure with the thunderstorms forming if I can swim today, but if it lets up, I will try my duck and see if that helps. Thanks Char, clean forgot about that little tool!! :)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • your having issues in your pool...
    as a water lover stop the walking...its kinda same as doing laps as far as movement..that is water walking...
    get a noodle (floating device of sorts) and if you can just hang on it dangling your legs if poss depending on depth..if not deep enough bend the knees..
    i have done water walking lengths of pool and yes sometimes it can hurt if your over doing it..
    i love the water so much could live in it..its really only time i don't have pain.
    but i can't go daily or i will hurt.
    take it easy for few days....
    i'm sorry to hear your having more issues i so hope this new surgeon can help you out...and get you back into that pool...
    as for the ns concern i can see why cause the water should be pain free most times so sorry to worry you if your hurting so much in the water just walking its not good sign...sorry but you know me lady gotta be honest in my opinions ..
    lets chat soon maybe in a bit in chat if your up for it..
    tc hugs hun
    neck,bone spurs pain started 04, back issues and fusion l4,l5 06~hardware removed.
    good few yrs. 09 pain sharp, numbness feet,legs, diagnosed fibro, neurop. legs.lung issues.
    daily goal do good thing for someone.
  • Howdy Mary,

    Long time no 'see' err chat. Sniff. Hopefully I'll find you in chat one day soon. :)

    Yeah, I was really surprised when after only walking one lap of my pool I started to feel pain in my lower lumbar, and as I started walking back the other way, it ramped up but fast - stopped me! When I bent forward a bit and arched my back it reduced the pain.

    After that I would wiggle around - do side steps, walking backwards wasn't too bad, and then if I did walk, only did it to where the pain was noticeable, then I changed movements. I hope my new surgeon can lend some ideas as to what is going on, and if this means more changes going on?

    No pool time today as "Mother Nature" had other plans - left over instability thanks to the remnants of "Emily."

    With that solidified fat surrounding my L5/S1 and a bit now at the L3/4, not sure if it just keeps "growing", or it hits a level and that's it? Not much on the net about it, but there isn't much conservative treatments *unless* what caused it was Cushings, obesity, long term steroid use, diabetes.. none of which I have or have had. I am really beginning to hate the word "idiopathic"..

    So probably not good huh? Argh. Thanks Mary, and yes what I love about you is you (like myself) say it how it is. *HUGZ*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
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