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Thread: Swimming

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    24

    Swimming

    My surgery is scheduled for June 15th. Do any of you all swim and if so how soon after surgery were you able to swim? The fusion is supposed to be from T4 to L4 or L5 if I am lucky.

    Thanks for any info,
    Paula

    Thorasic: 43
    Lumbar: 63
    Dr. Von Reuden Austin, Texas

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    New Bern, NC
    Posts
    1,445
    Hi Paula,
    I did water therapy before my surgery to stay strong since I couldn't walk or do any land exercises because of my sciatica. At three months post op, my Dr. said I could go swimming. He waits until six months to start Physical Therapy.
    By the way, welcome to the forum and feel free to ask any and all questions. There are a lot of helpful people on this forum.

    Sally
    Diagnosed with severe lumbar scoliosis at age 65.
    Posterior Fusion L2-S1 on 12/4/2007. age 67
    Anterior Fusion L3-L4,L4-L5,L5-S1 on 12/19/2007
    Additional bone removed to decompress right side of L3-L4 & L4-L5 on 4/19/2010
    New England Baptist Hospital, Boston, MA
    Dr. Frank F. Rands735.photobucket.com/albums/ww360/butterflyfive/

    "In God We Trust" Happy moments, praise God. Difficult moments, seek God. Quiet moments, worship God. Painful moments, trust God. Every moment, thank God.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Central NJ
    Posts
    1,956
    Sally,

    Is it harder to swim after surgery than before? Do you feel less buoyant than you used to? We just opened our pool today and it will be about a week until I can try. I'm curious how it will work.
    __________________________________________
    Debbe - 50 yrs old

    Milwalkee Brace 1976 - 79
    Told by Dr. my curve would never progress

    Surgery 10/15/08 in NYC by Dr. Michael Neuwirth
    Pre-Surgury Thorasic: 66 degrees
    Pre-Surgery Lumbar: 66 degrees

    Post-Surgery Thorasic: 34 degrees
    Post-Surgery Lumbar: 22 degrees

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Ames, Iowa
    Posts
    1,250
    I guess I couldn't call it swimming, but I started aqua physical therapy at 7 weeks. Sorry I don't know how long regular swimming could be done according to my doctor. I'll have to check on that. Good luck with your surgery, Paula. Janet
    Janet

    61 years old--57 for surgery

    Diagnosed in 1965 at age of 13--no brace
    Thoracic Curve: 96 degrees to 35 degrees
    Lumbar Curve: 63 degrees to 5 degrees
    Surgery with Dr. Lenke in St. Louis--March 30, 2009
    T-2 to Pelvis, and hopefully all posterior procedure.

    All was posterior along with 2 cages and 6 osteotomies.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    New Bern, NC
    Posts
    1,445
    Quote Originally Posted by debbei View Post
    Sally,

    Is it harder to swim after surgery than before? Do you feel less buoyant than you used to? We just opened our pool today and it will be about a week until I can try. I'm curious how it will work.
    Hi Debbei,

    The first time I went swimming after my surgery, I felt like I was sinking to the bottom of the pool. I don't think it is because of the hardware. I just think it is lack of muscle tone after not doing much of anything for three months. It gradually got easier and easier to swim.

    Sally
    Diagnosed with severe lumbar scoliosis at age 65.
    Posterior Fusion L2-S1 on 12/4/2007. age 67
    Anterior Fusion L3-L4,L4-L5,L5-S1 on 12/19/2007
    Additional bone removed to decompress right side of L3-L4 & L4-L5 on 4/19/2010
    New England Baptist Hospital, Boston, MA
    Dr. Frank F. Rands735.photobucket.com/albums/ww360/butterflyfive/

    "In God We Trust" Happy moments, praise God. Difficult moments, seek God. Quiet moments, worship God. Painful moments, trust God. Every moment, thank God.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    84
    Oh it could be like a year before you can swim since swimming is a pretty intense sport. Your doctor will give you a list of restrictions and when you can do certain things. Swimming will probably be awhile though. Maybe pool therapy could be an option???

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    24
    Thanks to all for the quick comments. I am glad there are people who have gone through this before me. I guess there are two things that concern me. One is how fast they will let you submerge yourself in chlorine water (different than a shower?), and, two, due to the thorasic correction, how soon you can do an overhand stroke, if ever. We live in the south where it is hot and swimming is a good form of outdoor exercise.

    Paula

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    385
    My son was allowed to swim at about 6 weeks post op. He was told to walk/step into the pool and walk around, just trying to float and do strokes as he was able. No jumping or diving for a while and no flip turns either. He actually hated it at first and, although he'd been swimming 1-2x per week before the surgery, he didn't feel comfortable in the water until about 3 months post-op. Now, almost 2 years post-op, he recently joined a swim team - he's not the fastest but he can even do the butterfly stroke and flip turns. He sort of needs to relearn diving but he's so much more confident than before the surgery. He's now swimming 3x per week and really likes it (even though his level is with much younger kids for now).

    Good luck with everything. I'm sure swimming will, at least on some level, be an approved activity fairly soon after your surgery.
    Laurie

    Mother of Alexander & Zachary:
    Alex is 16 years old and in the 11th grade. He has congenital scoliosis due to a hemivertebrae at T10. Wore a TLSO brace for 3 1/2 years. Pre-op curves were T45 & L65; curves post-op are approx. T31 & L34. Had a posterior spinal fusion from T8 to L3 on 7/12/07 at age 12. Doing great now in so many ways, but still working on improving posture.
    Zach is 13 years old and very energetic.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    338
    My son is 6-months post-op and just began swimming. He could have started at 3 months, but we don't live near a pool and it is just now barely warm enough to get in the lake. He was never a super strong swimmer, and he's now pretty weak in the upper body after 6 months of restrictions, but my husband said his crawl is better than before surgery. Apparently now he can swim straighter. His breast stroke is very weak, though. He's fused T2-L4.

    Laurie, I'm glad to hear Alex can do so well in the water now! All this is very encouraging. Sidney is very stiff--we're working on getting his hamstrings and very lower back limbered up a little.

    Mary Ellen

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    New Bern, NC
    Posts
    1,445
    Quote Originally Posted by S4Sarah View Post
    Oh it could be like a year before you can swim since swimming is a pretty intense sport. Your doctor will give you a list of restrictions and when you can do certain things. Swimming will probably be awhile though. Maybe pool therapy could be an option???
    We are not talking about competitive swimming here. As a sport, it is the least intensive sport on the joints and muscles and after surgery, you will only be able to basically dog paddle and move very slowly in the water. Pool therapy is much more intense that slowly swimming in the water and probably wouldn't be recommended until six months post-op. Dr. Rand is very conservative and swimming was the one thing I was given permission to do besides walking at three months post-op. Sally
    Diagnosed with severe lumbar scoliosis at age 65.
    Posterior Fusion L2-S1 on 12/4/2007. age 67
    Anterior Fusion L3-L4,L4-L5,L5-S1 on 12/19/2007
    Additional bone removed to decompress right side of L3-L4 & L4-L5 on 4/19/2010
    New England Baptist Hospital, Boston, MA
    Dr. Frank F. Rands735.photobucket.com/albums/ww360/butterflyfive/

    "In God We Trust" Happy moments, praise God. Difficult moments, seek God. Quiet moments, worship God. Painful moments, trust God. Every moment, thank God.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    7,104
    Quote Originally Posted by AustinPaula View Post
    Thanks to all for the quick comments. I am glad there are people who have gone through this before me. I guess there are two things that concern me. One is how fast they will let you submerge yourself in chlorine water (different than a shower?), and, two, due to the thorasic correction, how soon you can do an overhand stroke, if ever. We live in the south where it is hot and swimming is a good form of outdoor exercise.

    Paula
    Hi Paula...

    I've seen different restrictions from different surgeons. I was actually in a swimming pool by 4 weeks post op. I actually don't think I'd do that again. While I didn't have any problem with infection, I know how easily I could have had a different outcome. My surgeon limited me to things like water running, back stroke, and side stroke, although I could do the crawl as long as I wore a mask and snorkel.

    The one thing that I can tell you, is that it felt absolutely wonderful to get in the water and be weightless.

    Regards,
    Linda

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    96
    Hi Paula, I'm in Austin too! Just wanted to let you know, my curves and fusion sound similar to yours, and I don't have really have any limitations from the surgery on my freestyle stroke. I didn't swim competitively before my surgery though, but picked triathlons up years later, and swimming is by far my best and favorite sport. I'm able to do flipturns, back, side, and breast stroke, and of course freestyle. I feel like I have to roll a little extra to breath on the left side because I can't turn my neck as far on that side, but that is a very slight modificaiton I've learned.
    With all that said, keep in mind everyone is different. Best of luck to you fellow Austinite!
    Harrington Rods in 1991 at age 15
    Surgery at Scottish Rite in Dallas, TX

    Fused from T-4 to L-3

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Tennessee
    Posts
    24
    My daughter has not had her operation yet, but the surgeon said that as soon as the incision is healed she can get in a pool. Don't know what she will be able to do, but she will be allowed in the water.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Houston TX
    Posts
    288
    I was in the pool about 6 weeks after surgery. I just wanted to walk in the water a little and stretch my muscles better. Just be careful because the water can push you off balance pretty easily at first.

    I think most surgeons will say that you can go in the water once the incision is completely healed.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    385
    Mary Ellen,

    Thanks for the positive comment about Alexander. Once they are off restrictions, I think a lot of the kids' flexibility returns, despite the fusion. Or at least they learn how to cope better and figure out ways to do (at least almost) everything they did before. Alexander has a little stretching routine he does at night which helps a little with his very tight/inflexible legs. I think swimming helps with that too.

    It sounds like Sidney is getting stronger and stronger and really doing great in a lot of ways. That's such good news!
    Laurie

    Mother of Alexander & Zachary:
    Alex is 16 years old and in the 11th grade. He has congenital scoliosis due to a hemivertebrae at T10. Wore a TLSO brace for 3 1/2 years. Pre-op curves were T45 & L65; curves post-op are approx. T31 & L34. Had a posterior spinal fusion from T8 to L3 on 7/12/07 at age 12. Doing great now in so many ways, but still working on improving posture.
    Zach is 13 years old and very energetic.

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