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Swimming at 6 weeks

Shell74Shell74 Posts: 300
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:23 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Today I had my 6 week appointment for my TLIF. Xray shows everything is in place, but there is no new bone growth. OK, no problem, I am just not a patient person,lol. He checked with my insurance and they will not cover a bone growth stim. , but he says I dont need it and he rarely uses it for a 1 level fusion. He said just chill and give it time, lol.

He did not lift any restrictions (except I can drive up to 20 minutes), still the same no BTL. He is happy I am only using a cane for long distances and I have been off ALL meds for the last 2 weeks. I thought I would loss the TSLO today but no such luck, another 2 months he says.

Now my question is about swimming. He said if I can find a warm pool, within 20 minutes away, with either steps or a lift, I am free to swim as much as I want. He said I have no bending and twisting restrictions while in the water. I know the water takes a good ammount of the pressure/weight away, which makes it so much easier to move. I am unsure about this. Anyone else have the 2 sets of restrictions land vs. water? Tell me anything you can about starting out in the water. My insurance wont cover hydrotherapy so we cant start that way.

Thanks a bunch,


  • My surgeon just told me that I could swim-in my brace. I took it to mean move around in water-not literally "swim"-I think that would be twisting some. Ask for specifics if you are wondering.
  • I own a large inground pool and to this day, 18 months post -op, I still cannot swim without pain. When I say swim, I mean laying out flat, kicking and using the overhand stroke. I can tread water and do a number of exercises in the swallow end but not the overhand stroke.

    Emergency surgery in March of 2006 for spinal infection of L 2 and L 3. During surgery, discovered I had Cauda Equina Syndrome. Spine became unstable after surgery and had 360 fusion with 10 pedicle screws, plates and rods in April of 2007.
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  • I did ask him to clarify, and he said I could do anything that was comfortable for me. He also confirmed I did not need to use the brace. Still I would like to pick up a cheap lower back brace for in the pool, just to feel alittle more secure. The $1500 brace isnt hitting the pool water.

    I will be going tomorrow to the YMCA, they have a heated therapy pool as well as the regular pool. Its worth a try.

    Take Care,
  • Shell, I go to the YMCA 4-5 days a week. I used to go to pool therapy last year, so I do my routine I learned there. Here is a rundown of my routine. I walk forward, then sideways(6 long laps each way). I stretch my calves, and hamstrings on the wall, I put my back against the wall and bring each knee to my chest and hold it. I do squats, marching, up on toes, up on heels, balance on each foot, and bicycle while floating on a noodle. I have yet to add back leg lifts forward and to the side(tried one day, and payed for it later ;). Things with reps I do 30 times each side. Stretches I hold for 30 seconds each side times 3 sets. I bicycle until it has been an hour in the pool total. I just got my no BTL restrictions removed 2 days ago at 8 weeks post-op. I have been doing my pool routine since week 4 with my restrictions in place.(I just bring my grabber to the locker room :D ).
    I do not feel I can swim yet, that seems way to vigorous. If nothing else, just start by walking. Listen to your body and take it easy. Sometimes it feels easy in the pool and when you get out, your body feels like jello :)
    Good-luck, Sue
  • Thanks Cali-Sue, that all sounds reasonable for me. I called them about the pool at 4 weeks and they said to wait till I saw them again. I love the water!

    I was very disapointed yesterday that he didnt lift my BLT restrictions and now I have another 8 weeks of it! I trust his opinion and will of course follow what he says.

    I am taking my brother to the YMCA as well, he has a movement disorder that they cant diagnose. He has been living with us since February. I just have no clue how we will manage the wheelchair, HHMMNNNN.

    I will let you know how it goes.

    Thanks again,
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  • Shell, I too was told at 6 weeks that I could "swim". I had been doing hydrotherapy since week 2 and LOVE IT.
    Like Cali- SUe I have been doing the same exercises plus resistance exercises for core muscles using floats.

    My Dr said I could swim any stoke I like as long as it was comfortable. Recently I tried freestyle and though it seemed OK I think the turning to breathe was not so good so I have since tried it using a smorkel so I dont have to turn and that is a lot better. Just took me a while to get used to the snorkel as I haven't used once since I was a child.

    Start slowly with some exercises and just walking in the pool, then if you want to swim just do a lap or two to start with.

    I finish hydro tomorrow :''( :''( :''( so will have to go to the local pool (as long as it is warm enough). Luckily for me it is a 3 minute walk up the road, I just need to find out when the schools aren't using it.

    So enjoy your time in the water and even if you just float or hang it will be worthwhile.

    Blessings Sara O:)
  • I am sooooo beat! I guess going shopping at the mall first didnt help. The grandbaby needed a hat, it hasnt gone over 50 degrees for the past few days, and they keep taking him out with nothing on his head.

    The warm pool at the Y is about 20 x 40 feet, is kept at 96 degrees, and is open several times per day, so I hope I can get there a few times per week. My brother even got in using the lift chair, of course the little old ladies loved him, lol.

    Cali-Sue, I did all of the things you mentioned and it went well. Floating on my back was heaven! I even did a bit of a breatstoke for the length of the small pool, pretty pathetic frog kicks though, lol. Felt so good to stretch out my legs, they are so tight it didnt take much.

    Thanks all for your imput,
  • I do the water PT also and along with the exercises that Sue gave, here are a few suggestions. The belt we use for deep water is a blue spongey brace that wraps around your middle and hooks. It gives you support somewhat like the back brace that I had(velcro one), and with that on I go in the deep water and do jogging( moving arms and legs as if),running, cross country ski-ing. I love the deep water. Also for less stress on the back, lay on your back and do frog stroke, kind of like a breast stroke on your back, using your arms as well. If you have any kind of little kickboard you can use that also for forward kicking to help keep your back straight (no arching). Enjoy the water.
  • Hi Shell, so glad to hear you enjoyed the pool. There is nothing better than the warm water for us Spineys. At my Y the pool is only 91-93 degrees. The warmer the better in my opinion.

    Sadly the YMCA is 3.5 million dollars in debt and has put their building up for sale to pay off the debt. It is a hush-hush mystery how they got so messed up. The pools/programs are still running until they have a buyer. We are hoping it can be bought by a healthclub who would keep the pools going. The building is kind of old and ran down, and we already have 5 or more In-shapes and a few others so who knows if a buyer can be found.

    I too have lots of sweet old lady friends at the YMCA. One lady is 81 and she teaches an aquatherapy class 3 days a week and has for like 13 years.

    Well maybe your exhausting day will make for a good nights sleep I) Take care, Sue
  • I intended to go today to the pool but last night while getting out of the car I slipped a bit on uneven pavement and heard a noise causing immediate pain, now I am having lots of sharp pain in that area. I am torn between sticking it out and still going to the pool but taking it very easy or staying in bed resting. My lower back is warm to the touch and pain is consistant. Most of the pain is probably muscle pain caused by moving lots of things that havent moved in weeks, but you never know. I think I will make a descion by noon. Of course since its Friday, if I need to call the doctor I need to do it early.

    Thanks all for your suggestions,
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