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CDR - Cervical Disc Replacement and Swimming

I don't know if a lot of people go to this section of spine-health. I posted another topic and had no one reply. So, I'll try a swimming question instead.

I'm about to start swimming until my bones fuse to my artificial disc. Do you think it's too strenuous to 30 minutes of overhand/underwater laps?


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    Your doctor is the person to ask regarding swimming, the doctor knows your medical history and your surgery recovery.
    What is good for one member may not be good for another.

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • I haven't seen many people talk about the ADR here, so that may be why you're not getting many answers. I think I've seen that insurance often won't cover it, etc., so not many people have been in your shoes.
    I had a ACDF w/corpectomy of C3/4/5/6 (so more involved than yours) on 12/8, and asked my doctor last Wednesday at my 6 week check up if I could swim. His eyes kinda bugged out at me, and finally said I could hang out in the pool, but no laps. Too much turning of the head. I can add that I'm also recovering slower than expected, which is probably why he hesitated on his answer a bit.
    Most cervical surgeries, you're not allowed to do almost anything for the first two weeks. Is that your instructions as well? When do you go back for a check up? How are you recovering? I am curious the difference in the two surgeries, not that yours was an option for me, if it was available.
    Good luck! It's great you feel good enough to consider this!

    ACDF w/Corpectomy C3-6 12/8/14 ; Laminectomy C3-6  5/19/2016

  • TarenTTaren Posts: 525
    edited 01/25/2015 - 4:34 AM
    I agree. There is no way I would have been able to swim so soon after my ACDF. Turning ones head back and forth so soon afterwards would have been pure torture, I would think. Even taking a shower everyday right after was a production in my house, I could not imagine doing a lap in the pool-would have been painful to even watch someone else do a lap :-(

    Did either of you keep a headache for about 6 weeks after surgery?? I remember that was the thing I was so hoping to have gone after surgery only to find out from my surgeon that I could keep on for up to 6 weeks. He was right, unfortunately. I felt like I was constantly trying to balance a pumpkin on top of a toothpick.........Swim?? No way.
  • rbfinch2rrbfinch2 Posts: 7
    edited 01/25/2015 - 10:20 AM
    Maybe my surgery is just different since I have an artificial disc. I don't think I can do over hand swimming, maybe under water. I'm just sore and get odd pains when I accidently jerk my neck. I've been on the exercise bike two days after surgery. I don't even have someone set up for physical therapy. Should I?
  • I've read that stories about people that have the adr done and they are running marathons and fighting ufc fights 4-6 months later. Hell, I watched a video where a fighter was on the treadmill running two weeks later
  • greggvaggreggva Posts: 99
    edited 03/04/2015 - 2:34 PM
    I personally was more cautious getting back running, biking, swimming than my NS told me just because accidents happen and I really did not care to have the surgery done again (if possible).

    Not sure how far you are past surgery. I started back in the pool about 3 1/2 months following my ACDF C7-T1. I started at about 1,000 m and now do about 2,000 m once a week in my training regimen. I have no limitations but do have some tightness across the neck/back more than before my fusion. Overall, very tolerable and worth it to get in the pool.

    I would definitely get the opinion of a physical therapist and maybe talk to the disk rep before doing anything. You may void some kind of warranty...

    Best of luck!
    C7-T1 ACDF 12Dec2013
  • This is a very important thread for me as I do a daily 2500-3000 meter swim and am a 2 level ADR candidate. My hope is that the surgery will not preclude a return to free style swims in short order (i.e. several weeks).. I swim freestyle using body roll vice neck roll. Being unable to exercise is probably going to be the most significant psychological hurdle for me if the surgery is performed.

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