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View Full Version : Why can I not still sit in a bathtub at 1 1/2 years after a successful fusion surgery



jane d
03-18-2014, 10:13 PM
I had a very successful fusion surgery from T4 to sacrum in July 2012. I am doing strength training with a personal trainer again, walking a lot, very active, BUT I want to take a bath and soak in a tub again and it seems impossible. When I sit down with my legs out straight I fall backwards toward back of the tub unless I brace myself with my arms behind me to push my back into more of a sitting position. It is very uncomfortable so I end up taking showers. I read about others here taking hot baths which I want to be able to do again but it seems impossible. I have tried to practice sitting on the floor with my legs out straight and it is impossible to sit at a right angle with my back up straight. Any ideas?
Jane

leahdragonfly
03-19-2014, 07:31 AM
Hi Jane,

I had this problem after surgery too, and realized it was due to tight hamstrings. Once I started doing hamstring stretches (and time went by) it got easier. I used to love to sit on the floor at home especially when playing with my kids. Now that is just not a comfortable position, even though it got easier after stretching.

susancook
03-19-2014, 01:53 PM
Jane, I have the exact same problem. I believe that the reason is because I cannot bend with my spine to stabilize, so I start to fall backwards. One strategy is that I fold my legs underneath me to the side. I always fall backwards when my legs are straight. I also hold on to the water spicket to help me stay slightly forwards, of course do that while bending at the hips. My tub is a large sized soaking tub. Similar to you, I love to take a bath and soak. The next time that I am in the tub, I will check out what I do to stabilize and let you know. It will be a while since I had my incisional hernia repair yesterday. Susan.

jane d
03-19-2014, 09:06 PM
Thank you Gayle and Susan for giving this thought. I did strength training for 31/2 years before my surgery and my ham strings weren't tight but I guess they are now and I'm puzzled as to why they are. I am working on stretching them but guess I need to focus on this more on my own and with my trainer. Susan, I will be praying for a good recovery from your hernia repair. I am amazed you were able to post so soon after your surgery. I had to have a steroid injection in my left hip Monday for what my Rheumatologist feels is bursitis. I was thankful she didn't feel it was the screw in my pelvis. My hip feels better already.
Jane

rohrer01
03-20-2014, 01:12 PM
Jane, have you thought about getting some bath cushions?
If your tub is very large, you could put some kind of wedge cushion in there to lean back against. My tub is small and I haven't had surgery. But, when my lower back hurts it's hard to get in. Once I'm laying down with my knees bent up it feels great. It's just getting into that position. So, even though I can't speak for post surgery people, I do sometimes have similar issues due to pain. I haven't resorted to bath cushions, but have seriously considered it. My step-mom has inflatable ones that stay put by suction cups. Those feel good, but aren't quite big enough for what we are talking about. There may be some sponge material that you can get. You'd just have to be sure to keep it disinfected. With the inflatable things you don't have to worry about that. Maybe you can look online for some bath supplies.

Doodles
03-20-2014, 02:03 PM
Bath cushions might be a good idea. I know exactly where you're coming from. After 5 years I still can't sit on floor with legs out or do a tub. I only occasionally have wanted to do our tub with the jets when I was sore and it just didn't work. Yoga was out too. Also, my knees won't bend and go off to the side either--I just fall over. That has always seemed strange to me. It's not a big deal for me since I prefer showers and I really like yoga--but I can relate! Janet

Susie*Bee
03-20-2014, 05:34 PM
Gosh, you are all beyond me! I can't fathom taking a bath-- so it's good I prefer showers too. There's a lot of entertainment on the forum at times--and I guess I needed it after coming home from a long day. Trying to imagine all of us struggling to sit in a tub is funny (at least to me...) I can't sit on the floor-- just have to go down on my knee-- trying to sit doesn't work out at all for me. I also enjoyed the other thread about the girdles. I have no idea why I thought I needed to wear one in middle school and up... My mom didn't want me to wear nylons, so since I walked to school, I would stop part way at the laundromat and put them on in the bathroom. Of course you needed a girdle to attach the nylons with the garters that were part of the girdle... Silly stuff! But then I broke my foot at school one time and I had the nylons on when my mom picked me up. I also remember getting in trouble in gym in high school cuz I had my girdle on -- but who in heaven's name would want to take one off in front of everyone? Yuck! Unpleasant memories of having to dress/undress with others and taking showers. I'm sure they must not do that anymore. One big shower room with lots of spigots coming out and everyone trying to hide what they could, which wasn't very successful...

Good luck with the bathtub-- if at first you don't succeed, you know the rest. I bet you'll make it happen! It will be 7 years since my surgery on May 4th, so I think I'm beyond hope for that. :)

rohrer01
03-20-2014, 06:01 PM
Gosh, you are all beyond me! I can't fathom taking a bath-- so it's good I prefer showers too. There's a lot of entertainment on the forum at times--and I guess I needed it after coming home from a long day. Trying to imagine all of us struggling to sit in a tub is funny (at least to me...) I can't sit on the floor-- just have to go down on my knee-- trying to sit doesn't work out at all for me. I also enjoyed the other thread about the girdles. I have no idea why I thought I needed to wear one in middle school and up... My mom didn't want me to wear nylons, so since I walked to school, I would stop part way at the laundromat and put them on in the bathroom. Of course you needed a girdle to attach the nylons with the garters that were part of the girdle... Silly stuff! But then I broke my foot at school one time and I had the nylons on when my mom picked me up. I also remember getting in trouble in gym in high school cuz I had my girdle on -- but who in heaven's name would want to take one off in front of everyone? Yuck! Unpleasant memories of having to dress/undress with others and taking showers. I'm sure they must not do that anymore. One big shower room with lots of spigots coming out and everyone trying to hide what they could, which wasn't very successful...

Good luck with the bathtub-- if at first you don't succeed, you know the rest. I bet you'll make it happen! It will be 7 years since my surgery on May 4th, so I think I'm beyond hope for that. :)

Are you kidding about the showering? In my high school we had to dress and undress in front of people. Our showers had private stalls, but don't remember if there were curtains or not. But then when I went to the university (I graduated in 2003) we had the SAME THING!!! I could NOT believe I was required to take PE! Of course they called it something else, Health and Physical Recreation (HP&R)! It was just like high school all over again except we had lecture classes in the auditorium once a week and the PE part on the other days! The locker rooms were NOT private and I think that there was one big shower. We had to dress out and everything! I skipped the shower part because I never got that stinky. Most of the other girls changed in their dorms or apartments, so I was one of the few who had to use the locker room. I didn't live nearby. But we HAD to wear THEIR uniforms and turn them in for washing and check them back out. Well, they must not have washed them very well because I got my first two plantars warts from THEIR socks! Fortunately, I've never had another wart since then. It was awful!

golfnut
03-20-2014, 08:16 PM
You girls are bringing back memories of high school in the 60's. I remember the one huge shower for the whole P.E. class with no curtains. We were required to shower and the teacher made the rounds to make sure we did. (Kind of makes you wonder . . .) At the time, my crooked back wasn't noticeable, but being a late bloomer, I was self conscious to be so underdeveloped. Always something. . .
I tried to sit in our tub at about 1 1/2 years post op and it just wasn't comfortable without leaning way back. No way could I shave my legs. I still prefer a shower, but because my hamstrings aren't so tight, it is much easier to sit on the floor or in the tub than it was a couple of years ago. I try to do exercises for my hamstrings so they don't tighten up again.

jane d
03-20-2014, 08:43 PM
Interesting comments from all of you! My trainer had me do some stretches today lying on the floor on my back and pulling my leg up with stretch bands. I could get my leg up almost a 90 degree angle to the floor. She said that people with tight hamstrings couldn't get it as high as I was able to so she thinks the reason I can't sit in a tub Is due to some other reason such as how I 'm "wired together" now after my surgery. She thinks the whole thing is funny anyway and doesn't know why I would want to take anything but a shower. Guess she doesn't have sore muscles in her back that might feel good soaking in a hot tub!
Jane

mabeckoff
03-20-2014, 08:45 PM
Makes me remember middle and high school with the uniforms that they made you wear.

titaniumed
03-21-2014, 08:12 AM
Deep, wide tubs with sloping backs are better....once you float, you can stretch out. The old “standard “ sized and shaped bath tubs are hard to deal with. Funny how they made billions of them before they realized that the shape was worthless. My tub worked great and it is 19 inches deep, I just measured it with a tape ruler.

I had a 7 foot square hot tub with all the bells and whistles but was afraid to use in my immediate recovery due to a fall. I have since sold it since I don’t need it anymore. Used spa’s actually have no value whatsoever and people give them away. I paid $7500 for mine new and sold it for $100.

I cannot sit on the floor and stretch my legs out at all.

Ed

Doreen1
03-21-2014, 09:03 AM
Jane D,

How in the world do you lay on the floor. I tried sitting on the floor a long time ago to play with our puppy. By the time I got down to sit, the pup ran off. It was very uncomfortable.

tonibunny
03-21-2014, 10:02 AM
I assume that you ladies who are having problems lying back in the bath are having trouble because of being fused to the sacrum or pelvis? I don't think I can offer any useful advice as I'm fused to L4 and don't have any problems bathing. Like Ed, I favour a big, deep bath and have replaced my standard-sized one for a deep and wide one - if I sit on the bottom of the tub, I can lie back and let go and my torso floats very comfortably.

We had similar open showers at my school here in the UK in the late 1980s/early 1990s *shivers* - not something I like to look back on! It was worse for my husband though.....he went to a private Catholic school for boys, where some of the masters were monks, and one of the monks used to chase the boys around the showers with a fencing foil! AND, you won't believe this, but another friend of mine went to one of the top boys' schools in the country and they had to do nude swimming there.....not only were all the boys naked, but the adult swimming master was too. Unbelievable, but true! This was only stopped in the mid 1970s, which was fortunate for my friend as he was only there for a year or so before it got banned.

Sometimes, I am not altogether surprised that England has such a dodgy reputation abroad!

rohrer01
03-21-2014, 12:26 PM
Deep, wide tubs with sloping backs are better....once you float, you can stretch out. The old “standard “ sized and shaped bath tubs are hard to deal with. Funny how they made billions of them before they realized that the shape was worthless. My tub worked great and it is 19 inches deep, I just measured it with a tape ruler.

I had a 7 foot square hot tub with all the bells and whistles but was afraid to use in my immediate recovery due to a fall. I have since sold it since I don’t need it anymore. Used spa’s actually have no value whatsoever and people give them away. I paid $7500 for mine new and sold it for $100.

I cannot sit on the floor and stretch my legs out at all.

Ed

Well, now I know how to get a hot tub if we ever decide to get one! My hubby offered to get me a whirlpool tub when we remodelled our upstairs. After soaking in many hot tubs I came to the conclusion that a regular bathtub was best for me. Unfortunately I chose a small one so it would fit better in our bathroom. But we could have got a larger one. Our upstairs is a half-story. We had to make a little more room for the smaller tub anyway. So why not a couple of feet longer for a large tub? Duh! I'm stuck with it because I picked it out. The jets on those whirlpools make my skin itch something terrible. There is no massage effect for me. It's just the hot water that makes me feel better. If I can float and move around it's even better.

rohrer01
03-21-2014, 12:31 PM
We had similar open showers at my school here in the UK in the late 1980s/early 1990s *shivers* - not something I like to look back on! It was worse for my husband though.....he went to a private Catholic school for boys, where some of the masters were monks, and one of the monks used to chase the boys around the showers with a fencing foil! AND, you won't believe this, but another friend of mine went to one of the top boys' schools in the country and they had to do nude swimming there.....not only were all the boys naked, but the adult swimming master was too. Unbelievable, but true! This was only stopped in the mid 1970s, which was fortunate for my friend as he was only there for a year or so before it got banned.

Sometimes, I am not altogether surprised that England has such a dodgy reputation abroad!

I don't think it's "England" as much as the Catholic church. No offense to you Catholics out there, it has nothing to do with you personally. But this story just SCREAMS pedophilia! Very scary, indeed!

tonibunny
03-21-2014, 12:54 PM
Well, whilst I do think the fencing-foil monk sounds very dodgy, the other boys' school I referred to - where the nude swimming took place - was a private non-religious grammar school. Nude swimming was seen as a terribly healthy activity for sporting young chaps, which seems hysterically archaic these days. The school's argument was that the boys wouldn't have to carry wet swimming trunks around with them afterwards!! They are very, very embarrassed about all of this these days. The school remains one of the top academic schools in England.

Sorry, didnt mean to take the thread off on such a tangent!

Susie*Bee
03-21-2014, 04:12 PM
Back to the shower thing-- yes, rohrer, we were supposed to strip down and then got this tiny towel to use (they were handed out, if I remember correctly, when you came OUT of the shower room. I also remember getting demerits because I asked to be excused from dressing for gym once because I had started my period after I got to school and had a little "leakage" before I could get to the bathroom and buy something... The gym teacher said I should have been prepared and been wearing/using something already. She said girls should calculate their periods and keep it all written on a calendar so there would be no surprises. Did anyone do that in high school back in the 60s? I don't think so. And who would be that regular? I sure wasn't!

Back to the bathtub situation... Toni- I am fused T2-L4, but I can't do that. How many vertebrae do you have fused? Or maybe it has to do with arthritis in the hips and knees also.

BTW--very interesting about the boys swimming nude! I know at our elementary school the kids all take swimming for about 9 weeks (?) and I know for some it is pretty embarrassing in the locker room to have to change out of your wet suit in front of others. Locker rooms are just the pits.

tonibunny
03-21-2014, 07:25 PM
Susie, I'm fused T1-L4 but don't feel restricted in any way. My back doesn't prevent me from doing any activities that I like doing (such as hiking, climbing mountains, swimming and cycling). I'm 38 years old so my hips and knees are fine so far....I'd imagine that arthritis in these joints would certainly affect your ability to sit or kneel in a bathtub though.

I really felt sorry for my friend when he told me about the nude swimming! He would have been 11-12 at the time, and he says he was quite plump at that age. How utterly mortifying it must have been!

Susie*Bee
03-21-2014, 08:22 PM
Ah, youth... my girls were little when I was your age and we did a lot of active things. I work as an elementary librarian (it's a very stressful job, teaching all the classes, and then putting away all those books is a pain, literally, as I have to get down on my hands and knees for the bottom shelves--and they've been checking out over 4,000 books each month) but I actually have my B.S. in wildlife management. Ha ha. I'm so happy that you can do all of that. I can do some, but with my working during the day and feeling dead by the time I get home and have to fix dinner and all, I don't have much oomph. I am retiring at the end of the school year and maybe with some of the extra time I can get to doing some more things... I plan to get back on my PT regimen, so that would help. :) And yes, that nude swimming would be mortifying! Poor guy.

rohrer01
03-21-2014, 10:12 PM
I really felt sorry for my friend when he told me about the nude swimming! He would have been 11-12 at the time, and he says he was quite plump at that age. How utterly mortifying it must have been!

Not to keep going off topic here, but in the original Greek games, the men were all nude. Women weren't allowed in, of course.

It's too bad that there isn't some kind of floating device that those of you who are having trouble laying down in the tub could hang on to, or lay on, until you are under the water. But if your bathtub has a straight back design, that wouldn't help much. My downstairs bathroom has a slanted design and is much more comfortable. I would still check Amazon or some other online store to see if there are any bathtub implements that could help you all. I'm sorry you are going through this.

jane d
03-21-2014, 10:42 PM
Doreen, you asked how I managed that. My trainer asked me to so I could do a particular exercise. I simply went down on one knee, and down on my side then rolled onto my back. She did put a roll under my head and then I used stretch bands to stretch out the backs of my legs--one at a time.
Jane

scooter950
03-22-2014, 12:00 PM
Oh I love everyone's comments- I am concerned about getting on the floor to play with my puppies ( 13 yr & 4 yr. old "puppy")

I know I need to get in shape , now - i wish I was aready FUSED. thanks for sharing your tips.... reading with great interest- Jamie in TX

golfnut
03-23-2014, 07:04 PM
I am sitting at home watching a golf tournament with my husband and thought I'd check the latest posts from the forum. This particular one was very interesting with the nude swimming and all!
I am fused from T4 to the sacrum and can get to the floor and lay on my back without a problem. I get on all fours, go to my left hip, then left shoulder, and log roll to my back.

susancook
03-24-2014, 02:54 AM
Karen: how can you do that in a bathtub without creating a tsunami? Susan

golfnut
03-24-2014, 07:30 AM
Susan,
You are right. That would probably create at least a huge overspill of the water. I skimmed too quickly through a former post and my reply was how to get down on the floor instead of into the tub as asked.

rohrer01
03-24-2014, 11:13 AM
Karen: how can you do that in a bathtub without creating a tsunami? Susan

You could get in and then fill the tub with water. That's how I always do it, especially when my lower back hurts. It's easier to lay down first. Then I use my feet to control the faucet.

moonglow
07-04-2014, 11:53 PM
Pedophilia is across the board wherever there are children, and is just as prevalent with rabbis, teachers, doctors, coaches, and youth ministers. It has nothing to do with any one particular religion. Please do not criticize anyone's religion.

Pooka1
07-05-2014, 08:27 AM
Pedophilia is across the board wherever there are children, and is just as prevalent with rabbis, teachers, doctors, coaches, and youth ministers. It has nothing to do with any one particular religion. Please do not criticize anyone's religion.

That's a matter of how the facts roll up.

In any case, everything must be on the table for criticism if society is to ever advance. It is the only way to weed out bad ideas.

susancook
07-05-2014, 08:02 PM
One minute we are talking about getting into a bathtub and the next about pedophilia. Did I miss the link between the two?

leahdragonfly
07-05-2014, 08:24 PM
One minute we are talking about getting into a bathtub and the next about pedophilia. Did I miss the link between the two?


I know, right??? People should refrain from hijacking the original poster's thread to interject their ideas about religion and pedophilia. How about we keep the topic to scoliosis.

I am fused T8-Sacrum and can get in to the tub pretty well. I will have to figure out how I actually do it and describe it here. One thing I noticed was I had to stretch my hamstrings out before I could sit in the tub comfortably.

mabeckoff
07-05-2014, 09:48 PM
One minute we are talking about getting into a bathtub and the next about pedophilia. Did I miss the link between the two?

That is what I was wondering as well

Melissa

Irina
07-06-2014, 01:00 AM
Gayle,

How do you stretch your hamstrings? Mine are a bit tight and I was wondering what would be a good and safe exercise for that. Before the surgery I would do some yoga stretches, but don't really want to try it now.

leahdragonfly
07-06-2014, 10:21 AM
Hi Irina,

My hamstrings were incredibly tight after surgery - not sure why. I stretch them one side at a time by sitting along the edge of the dining room table or a low window sill with one leg extended along the table edge. My weight is divided between my seat on the side I am stretching, and my other leg which is one the floor. I can feel a stretch just from taking that position, and then I lean forward (from the hips) if I want more of a stretch. Doing this every day, maybe two times for 60 seconds each side, is tremendously helpful. I could send you a photo if this does not make sense!

I am not very good about doing this regularly anymore, but it always feels good to do this stretch when I remember.

Irina
07-06-2014, 06:17 PM
Thank you, Gayle! I am going to try it.