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Thread: Is breast-stroke swimming bad for scoliosis?

  1. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    32

    Swimming exercises are very good.

    Hi! I don't post much, but I thought I'd let you have another view on the breaststoke & butterfly issue. I had my surgery back when I was 17 yrs. old (1984) and at that time I was on the school swim team. I did every stroke . . . butterfly and backstroke being my best. I was also on the drill team at the time. I found that swimming exercises and stretching (from drill team practice) helped me be in my best shape for the surgery. Now I'm 38 yrs. old and I still enjoy the aquatic exercise for my body. I think the only thing you need to keep in mind is overextersion. The strokes, when done correctly and not in sprint-timing situations are very benefitual exercise for the body. Make sure your daughter listens to her body. When she starts to feel pain in the back (or anywhere else for that matter) when doing a stroke, which ever one it may be, she needs to stop and rest of lay off doing it for a day or so. For the most part there shouldn't be any reason for her not to do those strokes. Also if she hasn't been doing it very long her muscles may be adjusting to the new movements, but if pain persists that is a matter to be addressed by her doctor.


    Apart from bungee jumping, I don't think I have yet to not do a certain physical activity. Of course, I do it in moderation.

  2. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    60
    i'm a year around swimmer, swimming 5-6 days a week. well i used to. my surgery is in 2 days! but when i was swimming (im on a medical leave from the team) i was fine swimming breaststroke. im a flyer, and that killed me b/c of the pain. but breaststroke was fine. =] i can't wait to get back in the water!

  3. #18
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Cyprus
    Posts
    71
    Lindsay,
    I read several of your previous posts but never knew you were on a swim team. That is definetely to your benefit as you must be in a great shape for your surgery tomorrow. Wish you the best outcome and speedy recovery.
    And ofcourse to get back in the water soon...with breast stroke and all...
    (Just wondering where did you have the pain while swimming, low back pain or up high?)
    Pola

  4. #19
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Cyprus
    Posts
    71
    Jer,
    you are one of the people who I love to read posts from: 'grown-ups who had surgery in their teens and are doing great'!!! I am also a great believer in 'listening to your body' when it comes to exercise. My daughter feels fine in the water I can see her trying to push herself and I know she gets a good workout. But at the same time I see how her one side is not as flexible when doing freestyle. She has to struggle breathing at the left side. She has right thoracic curve of 50degrees. She just turned 12 and we don't have a date for surgery yet but it will be some time in summer or fall. Being in great physical shape before surgrey is so beneficial as you said in your case and we are trying to keep her doing it. (she also loves to sit and watch TV ofcourse...)
    Since my original posts I talked to another trainer( female who dealt with many scoli kids) at the pool and said it was fine to do breast stroke as long as there was no pain.

    Jer, what were your curves when you had the surgery and how long your fusion. Thanks,
    Pola

  5. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    778
    Now that we are a few weeks into swim team practice, I thought I'd reply again. Jamie has been swimming 6 days a week and her only complaint is that she's tired. (I get tired watching swim practice, so I know all the kids are tired, so it has nothing to do with her back) Jamie has tried everything-backstroke, breaststroke, freestyle and butterfly--without pain. Like Pat's daughter, Jamie too has a long fusion, so she can't do flip turns, which does slow her down a little bit but Jamie doesn't seem to care.

    Mary Lou
    Mom to Jamie age 21-diagnosed at age 12-spinal fusion 12/7/2004-fused from T3-L2; and Tracy age 19, mild Scoliosis-diagnosed at age 18.

  6. #21
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    60
    cyprusmom:

    the pain was in my hips and lower back because that is where my curve is. and with the butterfly, which involves moving the core of your body to produce the movement, was difficult for me. it was a bummer that my prime stroke was the stroke that was causing me the most pain. but im excited to get back in the water. my doctor told me i'd be able to start on my year around team in about 4/5 months b/c of the workload that we do on my team. and around Jan. i'll be able to compete in meets again.

    thanks for the support!! it means a lot to me!

  7. #22
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    513

    Question

    What do the studies say about the freestyle crawl? Is it the side opposite the side you breathe on that is strengthened or the side you breathe on? Rachel breathes on the right. When I do the freestyle, breathing on the right certainly stretches the thoracic curve to the left (i.e. in the opposite direction of a right thoracic curve) but which muscles are used more, right or left? Would breathing on the right make a right thoracic curve worse?
    Last edited by cherylplinder; 06-23-2006 at 01:20 PM.
    God has used scoliosis to strengthen and mold us. He's good all the time!On this forum these larger curves have not held forever in Spinecor,with an initial positive response followed by deterioration. With deterioration, change treatment.The first year she gained 4 or 5 inches and was stable at around 20/20 in brace, followed by rapid progression the next year.She is now 51/40 (Jan2008)out of brace (40/30 in Spinecor) and started at 38/27 out of brace(Jan2006.) Now in Cheneau.

  8. #23
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    36

    Would breathing on the right make a right thoracic curve worse?

    Cherylplinder,
    Your questions got me thinking so today I made an observation while at my daughter's swim meet. All the other long distance swimmers were breathing alternating sides, where as my daughter Lauren only breaths on the right. So I did some more research and found some interesting results.

    This coach says that if you breath only to your right, you are building up your left lat (back) muscles.
    http://www.trifuel.com/triathlon/swi...des-000114.php
    So for someone with scoliosis tendencies, could the spine be curving to the right because it is compensating for larger left back muscles in the thoracic area?

    This coach says:
    "in every hour of swimming, you'll roll to your breathing side about 1,000 times, meaning all your muscles pull more in that direction and less to the other side."
    That means my daughter is rolling to one side over 2,000 times a day at swim practice!

    http://www.active.com/story.cfm?STOR...T=0&CHECKSSO=1

    So Cheryl, my question is like yours... does that coach mean if you are pulling your muscles more to the right, you're pulling your spine to the right? Or does it mean the opposite?

    Sorry I didn't answer your question. I just provided more reading material related to the subject!!! ;-)

    I doubt that this alone can be a major secondary cause to increasing the curve, but if it is doing anything bad, I surely will want to encourage my daughter to breath alternating sides while swimming!

    If anyone has thoughts on this, please share.

    Thanks
    Jackie
    (daughter age 14, diagnosed with Scoliosis Dec 2007, curves 48-T, 35-L)

  9. #24
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    5
    I didn't think any kind of swimming would be bad for it. I still think swimming is the best exercise in general, even if the breast stroke is off limits.

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