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Thread: water sports after fusion: swimming, snorkeling and scuba?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Posts
    39

    water sports after fusion: swimming, snorkeling and scuba?

    I'm 10 months post-op (T4-S1 with pelvic fixation) and am really starting to feel much better! Pain has diminished dramatically. I'm swimming 2-3 times /week (breast stroke with snorkel and flutter kick with snorkel... cannot swim without a snorkel due to a somewhat increased cervical kyphosis and limited thoracic rotation post-surgically). I'm wondering...

    First, is it unrealistic to anticipate being able to return to doing a "crawl" stroke (without snorkel)? (I suspect/fear so.)

    Second, with respect to resuming scuba, one of the venues that I favored before surgery was entering the water and returning into a small boat (no ladder). I think I will still be able to enter the water by sitting on the rail and tipping over backwards. I'm a bit concerned about difficulties to be encountered when trying to return to the boat, a maneuver that requires lifting my upper body (launching upwards with fins propelling me) and tumbling into the boat (like a dead fish imitation). I'd appreciate comments/suggestions from anyone who has had a similar (or greater) fusion and has resumed scuba diving

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    1,163
    Hi Mark,

    It's great to hear you are feeling so much betterÖI haven't seen you post in a long time. As I recall you had surgery with Dr Hart, same as me?

    I was an avid lap swimmer before my surgeries, and I was able to return to swimming after both of my surgeries. I lost two abilitiesÖone is flip turns (can't really bend enough in the middle to do them except in slow motion), and the other is being able to pull myself up out of the pool and step onto the deck. I use the ladder now. It depends on how your crawl stroke was before, but if you have a reasonably correct crawl stroke I don't see a reason you can't use side breathing if you were able to do so before. You don't use your back to side breathe so much as you use your neck. It might be helpful to have one session with an adult swim instructor who could watch your stroke and help you develop an efficient crawl stroke with your new back.

    For me front crawl is much more natural than breastrokeÖwith such a long fusion it seems like your breastroke would be more awkward since your back doesn't flex. Do you like backstroke at all? I have no problem with that, and it doesn't put any strain on any part of your back.

    Now the maneuvers into and out of the boat, I have no idea!

    Best of luck, it sounds like you are doing really well overall.
    Gayle, age 50
    Oct 2010 fusion T8-sacrum w/ pelvic fixation
    Feb 2012 lumbar revision for broken rods @ L2-3-4
    Sept 2015 major lumbar A/P revision for broken rods @ L5-S1


    mom of Leah, 15 y/o, Diagnosed '08 with 26* T JIS (age 6)
    2010 VBS Dr Luhmann Shriners St Louis
    2017 curves stable/skeletely mature

    also mom of Torrey, 12 y/o son, 16* T, stable

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    reno,nevada
    Posts
    3,933
    Mark, Congrats on 10 months......it does get better......full fusion for adults is a multi year process.

    Crawling for me isnít an easy way to swim since my neck herniation issues arose......

    On diving, I have not done a reverse roll out of a boat (post fusion) because I do not want to stand up strapped into all my gear with the tank attached. I think itís a little too much weight....and not worth it. Iím not taking the chance.

    I simply jump in and have someone lower my gear into the water.....and in reverse, I take off my BC and have someone lift it into the boat.(Remove weights 1st) Iím not lifting tanks anymore.....I find someone young and tough to do that. (smiley face)

    Putting fins on is tricky since I cant see down....and in Panama, I dropped my fins TWICE, and the mates will freedive down 100 feet. You just have to let them know right away since fins sink quickly...Best to get one leg up and have someone remove one fin at a time.

    Getting into the boat for me without a ladder is like pulling up a 300# tuna. Its not pretty......I have always explained to any dive operator about my spine. They have always helped me out.

    I have also limited myself to around 75ft.......always worrying about the nitrogen bubbles. I wonder if they can form in a fusion mass? Iím not into going deep anymore....and also not into multiple repetitive diving since Iím too cheap to pay for Nitrox anymore....If your age 50 and over, doing more than 2 dives past 50 feet in a day, nitrox should be considered....Most liveaboard ships require it.

    For shore diving, backstroke it. I always backstroke to a point, rest, drop down, and come back under water. Shore dive in this manner since you donít want to be way out there........and run out of air.
    For shore diving, nice to have a partner that can lift and carry your gear from the car to the water. I always offer it this way, ďI buy the gas, lunch, and the air, you carry the gear, does this sound fair?Ē He he

    Where do you plan on diving?

    Ed
    49 yr old male, now 60, the new 55...
    Pre surgery curves C12,T70,L70
    ALIF/PLIF T2-Pelvis 01/29/08, 01/31/08 7" pelvic anchors BMP
    Dr Brett Menmuir St Marys Hospital Reno,Nevada

    Bending and twisting pics after full fusion
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/showt...on.&highlight=

    My x-rays
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...2&d=1228779214

    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...3&d=1228779258

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Posts
    39
    Quote Originally Posted by leahdragonfly View Post
    Hi Mark,

    It's great to hear you are feeling so much better…I haven't seen you post in a long time. As I recall you had surgery with Dr Hart, same as me?

    Dr. Hart: yes, on 7/11/14, a day that I remember well

    I was an avid lap swimmer before my surgeries, and I was able to return to swimming after both of my surgeries. I lost two abilities…one is flip turns (can't really bend enough in the middle to do them except in slow motion), and the other is being able to pull myself up out of the pool and step onto the deck. I use the ladder now. It depends on how your crawl stroke was before, but if you have a reasonably correct crawl stroke I don't see a reason you can't use side breathing if you were able to do so before. You don't use your back to side breathe so much as you use your neck. It might be helpful to have one session with an adult swim instructor who could watch your stroke and help you develop an efficient crawl stroke with your new back.

    Good idea! I think that what I will do is to try, again, both backstroke and crawl before engaging the services of a swim instructor. The last time I tried (two months ago), it was a dismal, ugly failure.

    For me front crawl is much more natural than breastroke…with such a long fusion it seems like your breastroke would be more awkward since your back doesn't flex. Do you like backstroke at all? I have no problem with that, and it doesn't put any strain on any part of your back.

    used to backstroke... my form became abysmal after my last motorcycle accident altered my right shoulder joint mechanics.

    Now the maneuvers into and out of the boat, I have no idea!

    Best of luck, it sounds like you are doing really well overall.
    yes, I think I am.


    Thanks, much, for the thoughtful advice and support!
    Last edited by mkatz; 05-26-2015 at 02:36 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Posts
    39
    Quote Originally Posted by titaniumed View Post
    Mark, Congrats on 10 months......it does get better......full fusion for adults is a multi year process.

    Though, now, I believe you, it is still hard to believe, and harder to accept. I want it all now!!

    Crawling for me isnít an easy way to swim since my neck herniation issues arose......

    On diving, I have not done a reverse roll out of a boat (post fusion) because I do not want to stand up strapped into all my gear with the tank attached. I think itís a little too much weight....and not worth it. Iím not taking the chance.

    When I've done it, I started from a position sitting on the gunwale rather than standing.

    I simply jump in and have someone lower my gear into the water.....and in reverse, I take off my BC and have someone lift it into the boat.(Remove weights 1st) Iím not lifting tanks anymore.....I find someone young and tough to do that. (smiley face)

    Putting fins on is tricky since I cant see down....and in Panama, I dropped my fins TWICE, and the mates will freedive down 100 feet. You just have to let them know right away since fins sink quickly...Best to get one leg up and have someone remove one fin at a time.

    good observation and suggestion; with that knowledge, I'll try the donning and removal procedures in a pool before I proceed to the ocean.

    Getting into the boat for me without a ladder is like pulling up a 300# tuna. Its not pretty......I have always explained to any dive operator about my spine. They have always helped me out.

    300# tuna: I've had that feeling! (laugh!)

    I have also limited myself to around 75ft.......always worrying about the nitrogen bubbles. I wonder if they can form in a fusion mass? Iím not into going deep anymore....and also not into multiple repetitive diving since Iím too cheap to pay for Nitrox anymore....If your age 50 and over, doing more than 2 dives past 50 feet in a day, nitrox should be considered....Most liveaboard ships require it.

    nitrogen bubbles and fusion mass: I suspect that if one follows a standard dive safety protocol, that is unlikely to occur. If bubbles form anywhere, to al large extant you're f.....d anyway.

    For shore diving, backstroke it. I always backstroke to a point, rest, drop down, and come back under water. Shore dive in this manner since you donít want to be way out there........and run out of air.
    For shore diving, nice to have a partner that can lift and carry your gear from the car to the water. I always offer it this way, ďI buy the gas, lunch, and the air, you carry the gear, does this sound fair?Ē He he

    good suggestion!

    Where do you plan on diving?

    warm water only: cold water requires thick neoprene that in turns requires heavier dive weights... I hate that!

    Ed
    I was thinking of Belize next. I'm going to wait until I've advanced a bit more in my recovery... then "refresh" in a local dive shop's pool... then proceed.

    Thanks, Ed and Gayle, for your advice during this past 10 months.

    mark

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