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Swimming 6 weeks after fusion. Pain & Mental relief

I had a 12 level thoracic fusion on December 1st. The first week after was hell, remember that first week everyone!?
Anyway, on the pain meds still & mornings are terrible pain wise & it is still a mission getting in & out of bed, sleeping on a recliner every other night etc.
I have just started to do swimming this week in the morning, just a very slow breastroke for 15-20 mins max, with a bit of walking in the pool also & I gotta tell ya it feels really good. Gives me a no pressure /impact stretch and movement of the whole back and even though I'm exhausted after it & I come home to rest and get some meds into me, I really feel the benefit and after the first swim I had the best most pain free sleep since surgery.
So yeah, just thought I'd let my fellow fusion friends know that if you are doing your walk and managing ,if your doc clears it or you feel you are up to it incorporating a swim ,it has brought me fantastic benefits after this massive surgery (17 hrs, 12 levels).
6 weeks after, still struggling a little but each week is better, have a bad day every now and then still. Seeing my surgeon this week for follow ups and staying positive:)


  • christibencchristiben Posts: 121
    edited 01/11/2015 - 8:03 AM
    You're a total inspiration. 12 level fusion?! I can't imagine. I'm heading to the pool today. Thank you so much for this post. Keep on healing!
  • jjn101165jjjn101165 Posts: 12
    edited 01/11/2015 - 9:01 AM
    Hi Evsolutions,
    Thats awesome. ! Keep on healing. I like hearing good surviving spinal stories. Here is mine.
    Well here's my story. I am 49 years old and am male. In 1985/1986 I had 2 laminectomis to remove herniated disc, c5 c6. I was fine until 2005. Hands started burning. Went to Dr, got MRI and he said it looks like u need c5c6 c7 fused. So I had that done. It was done from front of neck.
    2007, my hands were burning again so went to Dr and got MRI, he said looks like scar tissue has formed in previous surgeries. He said he can remove it but would have to go through the back of the neck like 1985/86. I said OK. He said I would be home in 2 weeks. Boy was i and he in for a surprise!! ¡!!!!!
    He opens me up and sees tumor, nuerofibroma schwannoma that is about 3/4s of an inch and has penetrated the spinal cord dura and the spinothalamic tract of the cord , which by the way there are only 15 cases where that has happened !!! Oh boy !!! Now its a 9 hour emergency tumor removal. I wake up, excruciating pain. Can't feel or move legs. After 1 1/2 weeks in ICU, they transfer me to level 1 spinal rehab where I lived for 1 year. Legs finally started to move an inch after 2 months. Long story short, took 6 years to learn how to walk again and I'm proud to say that I went from wheelchair to walker to 2 canes to 1 cane and am now cane free. I still have diminished propripception but no where near what it was when I started to learn to walk again. Now I have permenant damage to cord. I suffer from sciatica in both legs and feet. Hands still burn too. Now I have seen posts on here where people say you can't have sciatica from neck, OH YES you can if cord is damaged. Dr said tumor removal damaged the sciatic pathways in the spinothalamic tract in cord at c5 c6. I been to 6 other drs and they all agree, yes you can and I am proof of that. I've had MRI to check rest of spine and the rest is fine. Thank god!!!!. Now yes the pain is bad but I am on nuerontin, 3600 mg a day which is a very high and dangerousy dose but at least I'm walking !!! Drs didn't think I would walk again. I proved them wrong! Now listen to how rare this tumor is, all drs said that for nuerofibroma schwannoma that penetrated the spinal dura there are only 100 recorded cases in the history of this and I am 1 out of the 100. Now listen to this. !!! I recently met a women in hospital that had same exact tumor also penetrated the dura hers at t12. Now we are 2 out of the 100 recorded cases in the history of that. That is amazing!!! We will now be friends forever!!! I have been through allot but my grandma always said, " there's always someone in the world worse off than you". And she's right. Even though I am in pain everyday 24 hours 7 days a week with no break. I am walking and I met a wonderful woman who knows exactly what we go through every day. When there are people who will never walk again !!! Grandma you are right!!! I thank god for what he's done for me and pray for those less fortunate than me. To all spinal cord sufferer's, even though things may not be good for you like me and the woman I met, keep your chin up , there's always someone worse off than you. I witnessed it I live it everyday. If I can help anyone here feel free to ask.
  • Hey mate!
    Cheers for the kind words, look I certainly don't think I am an inspiration but I will get the shirt made! Ha!
    So how are you going? I think we have touched base on other threads I hope you are doing well. Yeah the swimming totally surprised me, I feel it works for me and is helping me heal, regain strength and makes me feel better. I am still on the pain meds and need them a few times a day but it works. Give it a go, just an easy slow stroke, walk a lap, that feels good to, just 10 mins, nothing huge but it feels great. Missed today but back tomorrow for sure!
    All the best
  • first you tell me no brace with that big fusion and now you're swimming? thats great to hear Nick, glad you're able to start working those muscles again.
    September 2014 : T6 burst fracture, multilevel fusion from T4-T8
  • Brain how are ya mate!
    Yeah mn just had to post that one to see if anyone else is or to recommend. It was just soMething I thought to try earlier than what was said as you said right, I just wanted to stretch and move my back a little to see if it gave me relief and it did!
    Just walked in the shallows which made my thighs feel great then did a slow sort of breastroke for 10 mins, went today also it's the goods! I think cause there's no impact or stress as you float makes it possible, I would recommend you should see if you can get into some hydrotherapy near you Brian if you can, it's hard but feels good.
    Hope you are we'll anyway and this week is a better one.
  • kleahj12kkleahj12 Posts: 10
    edited 01/14/2015 - 6:35 AM
    your surgery makes me glad mine was only 7 hours haha . can't swim because I don't have a warm pool but a nice bath always helps. I don't take any medicine anymore but sometimes when it's very cold I get pain .
    17 years old :) 2 rods. 22 screws . t1-s2. fusion. butttttt im happy :)
    surgery on 12/17/2014
  • gfishggfish Pittsburgh PAPosts: 158
    Wish I coud say the same! my 7 level is killing me . But it takes times to heal they say. Waitimg for the day I get up feeling good, and able to walk for more than a 1/2 hour. Age does play a factor I guess. Looking at 6 months for me. Glad your doing well!
    Greg fisher
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