PDA

View Full Version : Water Therapy-what was allowed and when?



golfnut
12-22-2010, 12:12 PM
My surgery is 2 weeks from today and I've gone through a roller coaster of feelings lately, mainly due to people questioning my sanity for having this surgery, since I'm not in pain. One can only hope he/she is making the right decision based upon the surgeon's recommendation and factual information concerning scoliosis.
I have been enjoying classes at our new Y for the past few years (bodyworks, intervals, tap dance, spinning, etc.) and recently have been kind of sad thinking that I won't return to these classes for a long time, if ever. Naturally, I have good friends from these classes who I see several times a week. I was talking to one of my instructors yesterday and she convinced me to meet her at the pool today (which I have avoided since I'd have to wear a swimsuit in front of people I know). The water felt great today and I'm sorry that I haven't taken advantage of it until now. The instructor will work with me following surgery when I get the okay from my doctor, however, she isn't familiar with spinal fusion exercises. Does anyone have a list of do's and don'ts for the water? I know I will see physical therapists in the hospital, but I don't know if they would be familiar with water therapy. I am excited that I will be able to do something in addition to walking. If you had water therapy, do you remember how long after your surgery you were allowed to start it and what it involved? Naturally, I won't do anything without my doctor's permission.
Thanks!
Merry Christmas to all of you caring people from the forum! Happy healing in the New Year!

Doodles
12-22-2010, 01:00 PM
Karen--I started water physical therapy at about 3 months I think it was. This was in conjunction with our local hospital--92 degree water--felt great. It was really helpful. Much different from my regular water aerobics but a valuable first start back to exercise. I think you would want to try that first. Janet

LindaRacine
12-22-2010, 02:39 PM
Hi Karen...

Every doctor has different restrictions, so you should check with your surgeon to be certain. In general, the restriction for the first 3 months is no bending past 90 degrees (For those of you challenged by that description, it means you can only bend at the hips. E.g., if you're seated, you should not bend forward at all.), no twisting, and no lifting more than 5-10 pounds. That's pretty restrictive in terms of water aerobics, but you could modify the exercises to stay within your doctor's guidelines.

You might want to check out the vests that are made for water walking. It's great exercise, and you can't imagine how good it feels just to hang in deep water after surgery.

Regards,
Linda

nanlo
12-22-2010, 06:38 PM
HI Karen,
I haven't gone into the water yet, but when I saw Dr Lenke for my 12 post op appt, he encouraged me to do some pool exercise. I already have some pool PT exercises I was given when I had PT last year, mostly simple leg and arm movement, walking in the water, etc. I bet if we called Dr Lenke's office, we could ask the physical therapist there to send or email some print outs of appropriate water exercises.
Thinking about you!
Nancy

titaniumed
12-22-2010, 07:05 PM
Karen

I didn’t do water therapy, but I would suggest finding a “warm” water therapy pool, maybe at a swim center. They will usually keep the kids out....Cold water, especially if on meds can be a little overwhelming and not feel too pleasant.

Range of motion is probably the most important thing....staying active.

Swimming will feel strange at first, but like all the things we have to adapt to in our recoveries, things slowly return to normal in time.

Ed

golfnut
12-22-2010, 07:29 PM
Ed,
I swam laps today at the pool at our YMCA and the water felt great. I was surprised at how warm it was. An instructor today thought water therapy after my surgery would be good, however, I won't do anything until I have a physical therapist from Barnes Hosp. and Dr. Lenke give the approval along with recommendations for exercises. I'm sure it will be many weeks down the road for me, yet something to look forward to doing during my journey of getting strength and muscles back after the surgery. Walking outside isn't too promising with our winters here, but I've made arrangements to walk in the a.m. and afternoon at the school where I teach.
Thanks for all of your encouragement during the past year.

mbeckoff
12-23-2010, 06:46 AM
I was allowed water therapy at 6 months. It felt great getting into the water. First session, I overdid it and was so tired that I could not get out of bed the next day. Sessions felt great but I did not notice any improvement afterward.

Hope they will work for you

Heidiv2
12-23-2010, 08:26 AM
Dr Lenke told me at 9 wk postop appt that I was allowed to do pool exercises now. As I live in no mans land and we have no indoor pools (exception of the motel 8, lol) I didn't inquire as to what that intailed. He did however tell me that I could start bending exercises, forward and back and gradually lifting more close to the body, using good judgement. He did make sure to tell me no twisting yet. HTH

boopy1
12-26-2010, 08:54 AM
I started water therapy @ 9 weeks . We have a rehab w/ a pool. the warm water is awesome. We started walking only (backwards and side also). Now doing shoulder resistance w/ "noodle" and also just moving arms under water gives you good resistance.
I started floating + treading water in the deepwater about 3 weeks ago with a float belt .It really helps take the gravity off your back and gives some nice relief.
Don't overdue because you wll fatigue. I still take a nap when I get home.
I hope you can find aPT to give you the guidance,they should be able to research it for you.
I also take a whirlpoolbath at every chance I get.

Good Luuck w/ your surgery

mbeckoff
12-26-2010, 09:00 AM
.

Good Luck w/ your surgery

Thanks

golfnut
12-26-2010, 10:03 AM
I am lucky we have a pool at our y which is 6 miles from our house. I have no idea when I will want to ride in a car to get there, however, I am now looking forward to the warm water.
There are only really low benches in the locker room, so I can't imagine how I could possibly get a wet suit off. Any suggestions other than putting on a jogging suit over the wet suit and letting hubby help me out of it when we get home?

Thanks for the good luck wishes for my surgery in 10 days!

mbeckoff
12-26-2010, 10:28 AM
I am lucky we have a pool at our y which is 6 miles from our house. I have no idea when I will want to ride in a car to get there, however, I am now looking forward to the warm water.
There are only really low benches in the locker room, so I can't imagine how I could possibly get a wet suit off. Any suggestions other than putting on a jogging suit over the wet suit and letting hubby help me out of it when we get home?

Thanks for the good luck wishes for my surgery in 10 days!

I do not know what levels you are being fused. I am fused T2- sacrum. Is there no handicapped accessibly ? Our Y has a family changing area. What about bringing a light weight folding chair ? I was able to take the bathing suit off by myself . It took me a Little while to do it but it did come off. I used my grabber and the suit came off
Melissa

leahdragonfly
12-26-2010, 03:16 PM
Hi Golfnut,

I have been an avid swimmer for 6 years, and I really ramped up my swimming before surgery to get in the best shape possible. I was swimming 7 days a week for 90 minutes. After surgery I was anxious to get back to the pool, so I asked my surgeon, who thought it was a great idea. I was allowed to return to the pool at 3-1/2 weeks, which was 10 days after the staples were removed.

The first day I was very nervous about being in the water, and wasn't sure if I could get into my suit myself. The good news was I had no trouble putting on my swimsuit, and I did not sink to the bottom of the pool! The first two weeks or so I went in the warm therapy pool, which is 91 degrees. I started out with walking and then tried using the kickboard. At first I was extremely slow and could only do 10-15 minutes, but within 2 weeks I was ready to try the regular lap pool. BTW I had no trouble showering by myself and removing my wet swimsuit.

I am now almost 11 weeks post-op, and I have made huge improvements at the pool. I go 6 days a week, and I swim laps and kick with the kickboard continuously for 45-60 minutes. I try to do 80 laps, which is about 1.25 miles, per day. Some days I do a little more but I've noticed I'm sorer the next day, so I'm still working to increase my daily yardage. My daily goal is to swim 100-120 laps, which is what I was doing before surgery. I can tell my fitness and endurance is improving on a weekly basis.

One side note about the warm water therapy pool. I noticed after about a week that I was getting extremely dizzy during my warm pool workouts if I went over 10-15 minutes. At that point I was ~4 weeks post-op, and not having any other trouble with dizziness. After a few days of this I tried swimming in the big pool (which is about 81 degrees) and I had no trouble at all. I realized I was getting dizzy because I was overheated. Just something to keep in mind.

Good luck, and I am sure that you will find a way to return to many of your favorite activities post-op.

golfnut
12-26-2010, 07:19 PM
Gayle,
Thanks for your post. I am amazed at how quickly you were swimming laps. I wish I had worked out in the pool more before now. I think I am in decent shape from my y classes but I am no way close to where you were pre surgery.

ADMoul
12-26-2010, 08:32 PM
I have always been a swimmer and was given the OK to get back in the water and walk at my 6 week check up. However, I didn't feel ready (including dealing with changing, walking on the slippery pool deck, etc.) until about 9 weeks post-op. The first few times I just walked up and down the lanes and did some very gentle floats and kicks. Was still limited on twisting motion so no freestyle or anything that was too strenuous. The water felt wonderful although you did get some odd sensations at first--like things were tugging a little bit. By mid-summer, I was back to swimming my mile of laps, just somewhat slower. I had no PT at all and honestly, even now wish I could find someone locally just to help me learn to exercise and stretch the right way. I feel totally recovered from surgery but am fighting weight gain and know I need to get some more strenuous exercise. Anyway, the pool worked really well for me and I think you'll know when you're ready for it. Best of luck to you. I know it has been a long wait.

naptown78
12-28-2010, 08:19 PM
I am lucky we have a pool at our y which is 6 miles from our house. I have no idea when I will want to ride in a car to get there, however, I am now looking forward to the warm water.
There are only really low benches in the locker room, so I can't imagine how I could possibly get a wet suit off. Any suggestions other than putting on a jogging suit over the wet suit and letting hubby help me out of it when we get home?

Thanks for the good luck wishes for my surgery in 10 days!

Karen,
Don't worry...if you are ready to get into the pool for water therapy or gentle swimming, you will have no trouble changing out of your swimsuit. Good luck with your surgery ;-)

golfnut
12-28-2010, 08:51 PM
Thanks, all. We get back into town tomorrow and I am going to look at the family changing areas. It would give me a little privacy and I hope possibly a chair. I'm trying to focus on the recovery instead of thinking about the surgery on the 5th and the stay in the hospital. That might be stretching the truth a bit.

TiffanyK
12-30-2010, 10:39 PM
Karen,

I'm a little late for this thread, but I was given the okay for aqua therapy at 4 weeks. I went for a month two times a week. They wanted me to go three times a week, two aqua therapy and one regular (they called it surf n' turf). I was also nervous about trying to get out of my swimsuit, but I managed. The bench in the locker room was quite low, but then again I am shorter than most people... The exercises were the same each time for me, walking forward then backward then side to side for a couple laps each, some arm exercises, and then floating in the deep end with a noodle.

golfnut
12-31-2010, 11:42 AM
Tiffany,
You're not too late at all. It will be at least 4 or more weeks before I could even think about getting in the pool. Thanks for posting!
I tried a noodle the other day and I think that will at least add some variety to just walking back and forth, however, I'm sure walking will be challenging enough in the beginning.