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Swimming post op?

FormerfireFFormerfire Posts: 148
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:22 AM in Exercise and Rehab
Hi, does anyone know when we are allowed to swim following microdiscectomy L5S1....I am going to Hawaii in 2 weeks, and would like to snorkel...but i need to practice swimming before i go (if i am allowed).

I am 10 weeks post op
Thanks :)


  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 11,348
    The best source for that answer would be your doctor.

    When I had my lumbar surgeries, I was told that after 6 weeks, I could use a kick board to swim with. (I had no fusion or hardware).
    When I had my cervical surgeries, I was told that I shouldnt go swimming for at least 3 months and then only with a kickboard. Now, 10+ years post cervical surgeries, I still can not swim the normal stroke. I can not turn my head side to side, so instead, I swim with my face in the water and just start swimming away and then bounce out for some AIR!
    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • :) hi! you need to ask your doctor about that! you don't want to do anything to ruin a successful recovery! have fun in Hawaii! Jenny :)
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  • Thanks guys! I rang the surgeon and he said I could have started swimming at 6 weeks. So i will get my very unfit butt down to the pool and see if i dont drown.

    I am very nervous about going away cause 9hr flight, my nerve is still playing up......then i have a 4 day conference.

    Might get some drugs just in case :( but i dont want to do that/
  • :P I had my 360 L5-S1 surgery 14 weeks ago today. I do some home exercises in the pool (asked my PT for help) I do some straight leg raises to the front, side and back. These and some stretching help before the more difficult stuff. I walk in the low end frontwards, backwards and side to side ( about 5 xs with there and back being one time) I do this in the low end. Then I get a kick board and do long laps. As many as I can, some days 4-5 others 8-9. Then I get two pool noodles and put them across my chest/under my arms and just hang in the deep end. I has help my daily endurance for other things, and I get to be outside with my family. Maybe you should get a mask and snorkle at walmart and practice that type of swimming as you feel comfortable in your own pool.

    I am still having quite a bit of nerve and back pain. But, I am able to get through it on most days, the lyrica helps. Just do what you can and be safe. :S

    I do have a great lounge chair...so afterwards I have a nice cold iced tea and read for a while! ;)

    BTW I would ask for something to bring with you for pain just incase....you don't have to take it if your don't need it.

    Anna :D
  • I was given the ok to swim @ 6 weeks but it did not feel comfortable until about 4 months. Now I'm almost 6 months post op and swimming 1/2 mile 3 x a week.
    I am surprised your doc is letting you fly on a long flight. My surgeon STAMPED NO on that idea very quickly when i called and asked about flying to Europe@ 4 months. He said maybe at 6 months.
    Have a great time in Hawaii. It is awesome!
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  • 3 weeks out from MD at S1/L5 & L4/5.

    PT approved 500 yds 3x this week, 3 x 1000yds next week and 3 x 1500yds the following week. Freestyle only, no flip turns.

    It felt good, though I was a bit hesitate about rotating at first. Could have gone longer, but followed the plan.

    I was consistently swimming 3500-4000 yds 4x a week prior to surgery, so I'm sure that makes a difference.

  • Well i took all my meds with me ( i was loaded up) but the only thing i needed was one lyrica on the flight back. (And i am sure that actually didnt do anything, probably more in my mind).

    I took my special back support which helped heaps.

    Hee hee.....i actually didnt even ask the surgeon...just got my gp to give me some meds lol. (ooops).

    But, i survived and had fun.
    (I still slept on the floor in the hotel - crappy soft beds).

    Thanks for all your help. I will now attempt to swim laps as i need to work off the steady cheeseburger diet that is prevalent in Hawaii 8}
  • i would like to comment that even after the target period to pass , you may still need the doctors advice and what is felt by you.If recovered then ok otherwise wait some thing more.
  • My flight was only about 2 hours, but I flew 3 days after my surgery. I did not hurt me at all, mind I slept most of the way and did not notice any pain.
  • Hi,
    After advice at 4 weeks post op from my Physio I started swimming at 6 weeks. Post op from L5/S1 microdiscectomy for sequestered disc and severe pain and immobility plus loss of foot raise on left.

    I'm 9 weeks post op swimming a mile front crawl at a time and feeling great. The swimming has reduced my sciatic pain considerably and continues to do so.

    My first swim was a gentle slow meander for about 2 laps at 5 weeks, more of a float really. The 10 days later I swam 12 laps gently. everything felt great so I swam 22 laps a few days later. Then a few days after that I swam 40 laps and my pain level dropped significantly. This really boosted my hope for being pain free again. In the past 2 weeks I've been swimming about 40 laps front crawl, back stroke and breast stroke 4-5 times a weeks and my comfort level and strength is increasing really quickly and pain is diminishing every day.

    For me I have found swimming to make a huge difference to the speed of my recovery.

    I was pretty fit before the operation but had not swam for several years. Swimming is going to replace running for me from now on I think. I was still very uncomfortable with pretty high levels of sciatic pain. I was still finding it very uncomfortable to sit down.

    I have found that by avoiding sitting and either walking, laying flat (stomach or back or up on elbows) or standing I reduce inflaming the nerve any more allowing it to heal. I guess the swimming is strengthening my whole frame, stretching my muscles, moving my nerve and taking nutrients/fluids to the nerve and discs and other tissues helping them o heal too.

    It's really helping me. I'm starting to not even have to think about pain meds and even beginning to sit down without thinking too much about it for short periods.

    Be encouraged you will heal : )
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