OK, I just wanted to let you all people with back problems KNOW that we need to go Swimming. I just came back from my NS and he keeps advising me to go swimming. He says that is the only thing that will makes us feel better, will get our muscles around our spine stronger, and they will be used as "natural cages" .. rather than using the man made one. He mentioned that the more we swim the faster we will heal. Swimming will help to stretch our ligaments and muscles as well as it is good for our heart and "EXCELLENT HEALER" for our backs.
I was swimming about a month and 1/2 ago but I stopped cuz I got lazy.. my hair started to get somewhat dried and they raise my Gym fees. .... but who really cares about all that when your health is at a stake. So I am going back again. He wanted me to swim "EVERYDAY"... but I don't think I can do that, but I am promising to myself I will do it 3 to 4 days a week and the other days I will walk one hour each. When I was swimming, I was in a lot of pain because the surgery was very recent, but I DID noticed my leg pain where getting a lot lighter and was reducing pain killers like crazy.. I don't know why did I stop!! No wonder why I have this pain on the left side.
OK, enough of it... I just feel like screaming out there to all of you ... GO SWIMMING .. I want all of us get better!!!
My NS also mentioned that instead of wasting our money and time going to PT we should use that slap to go swim.
anyway, I am out before I get thrown tomatoes from repeating the same thing..... SWIM SWIM!!.... Raiza
07/16/03 microdisectomy / Laminectomy L5/S1 (RIGHT SIDE) 08/27/2001 Started back problems.
Chiro, acupuncture, stretches, body massage, walking, nothing help.
Got 3 epidurals, first they missed, second helped for 3 months, third didn't help.
Kaiser kept sending me back home: "it will get better". NEVER DID!! 2003 changed insurance TIRED OF KAISER!!! 07/03/03 saw new NS, w/in days he was doing surgery on me. 09/07/03 I am glad I went through surgery. 11/06/03 Visited NS, he stresses on us going SWIMMING. He says after 40 years treating backs, swimming is the only thing that seems to help to straighten our backs.
Hi Raiza--I don't exactly swim (which actually aggravates my back), but I do aquatic exercise--using a belt that keeps you upright and doing bike or cross country ski type motions. In deeper water, it's also gentle traction. I think it helped me a lot, although walking is still my "treatment of choice." Ran into the partner of my neurosurgeon in the locker room one day (he's an orthopedic surgeon). He said that he suggests all his patients do aquatics.
I started swimming this past summer every other day. It seems that it made my pain worse. I stopped freestyle (as that rotates the spine) and did breast stroke ( this also bothered me). I do agree that swimming is excellent for back patients but it depends on the person's diagnosis. I haven't had surgery but may have to. I think as long as my disc is on the nerve, everytime I swim, it goes against it and causes pain. Eventually discs do shrink and move away from the nerve or nerves they are pressing on but that could take years. I don't want to wait years to get better and be able to do sports such as swimmings so I might decide to have surgery eventually.
Funny you say that, before surgery, I tried swimming also. I also enrolled in water aerobics. I would do it very light. But I would be in so much pain when I got out of the water. Eventually I had to quit. Couldn't do it. I started swimming right back after 4 weeks post/op. My legs muscle and nerves were still so achy from operation ....but I still did it. After 3-4 weeks of continuous swimming, I saw so much improvement. I had reduced 8 pills of Vicodin a day to only one a day, after that there were days that I didn't even need to take a painkiller... I kept doing it for a little bit longer... Then got lazy. I am going back though.
So before surgery, swimming was making my pain worse. After surgery, swimming actually made me feel so much better.
I heard we shouldn't do the freestyle. I actually do the breast strokes (inhale out of water, exhale in as I push myself out of the water with both arms as I kick) .. I think that is the breast stroke.
I agree with you about not waiting too long for disc to heal. I actually put in 2 yeas of nothing really happening. I didn't want to wait any longer... and my surgery did wonders!!! I am very pleased. I still have some discomfort but I know it has been only 3 ½ months post/op.
Standingman: I think the reason why aquatics are good exercise for us is because it won't put pressure as it strengthen our muscles. Anything you do in the water will help you in the long run. I don't particularly like swimming, but I really saw LOTS of improvement when I was doing it...
"freestyle' is not exactly front crawl. I'm a strokes and turns judge and "freestyle" can be any stroke...hence the term freestyle". Some swimmers will even do butterfly as a form of freestyle. off the topic anyway. Front crawl shouldn't rotate your spine if done properly. A good stretch on your reach and a "flip" upon you arm exiting the water should keep your body straight snd with no rotation. A good Masters swim program might be what you need to "tidy up" your strokes. Swimming is indeed the best exerise as it doesn't jar or strain any parts of your body. (also a good cardio workout). A good front crawl if viewed from above should show the body straight as an arrow with no "wiggle" or rotation. (something my 11 yr old is working on on her race team.)
Try a little coaching and you might be surprrised.!....Tagger
Wow! I'm impressed at the expertise in this group, especially re: athletics. It's not surprising, I guess. If most of us hadn't been so active, we might not have gotten injured.
I think for some of us, any of the prone swimming positions may be very hard exactly because it's difficult to keep a straight enough, untwisty back. My thought was the first stroke I'd try was the elementary back stroke. That's seems to me to be the most symmetric and the one in which it would be easiest to stay aligned. Breast stroke, for me at least, creates way too much lordosis to be doable.
Raiza--Glad you're doing well with swimming post surgery. They must have repaired your fins!!
I have heard so much about how the water therapy is good for the back. Most of you already know me, but I had a two level fusion surgery in June. At about 7 weeks post op, I decided to go into my pool with my husband's assistance. I have an in-ground pool. We were having a heat wave and believe me when I say my pool looked very inviting. I had my TLSO brace on as it is waterproof. I was walking very slowly in the little end which in only 4 feet deep. My husband saw that I was doing well and decided to go for a swim. Well, as I was walking so how and I don't know how, I lost my footing or something and I ended up on my back. The brace does work as a floating device, and I could not get back up. My husband came to my rescue and I felt like a complete idiot.
I just thought I would share and give everyone a laugh.
Oh no Tomorrow, I couldn't help smiling at your story LOL. I can imagine you flipping on your back like a little fish. Even though it is funny, I hope you didn't hurt yourself.... and please keep doing water therapy, in the long ran it will help. Wow, you have a pool in your house!! how cool!!! I have to drive to the gym for that. The Jacuzzi there is THE THING!!!... it is hot and if you have any pain left, it is gone! .. It is so nice that hubby wants to build me a nice Jacuzzi in my back yard. We don't have enough land for an inground pool. You know, California houses aren't that big Land cost too much. I am hopping he starts the project soon, but we also have to see the $ factor. Unfortunately . Ok we will wait and see.
take care! Raiza
07/16/03 Decompressive Laminectomy L5/S1 (RIGHT SIDE)
Also a small bulging disc at L4. NS said it was not giving me problems. 08/27/2001 Started back problems.
Chiro, acupuncture, stretches, body massage, walking, nothing helped.
Got 3 epidurals, first they missed, second helped for 3 months, third didn't help.
Kaiser kept sending me back home saying: "it will get better". NEVER DID!! 2003 changed insurance TIRED OF KAISER!!! 07/03/03 saw new NS, w/in days he was doing surgery on me. 09/07/03 I am glad I went through surgery. 11/06/03 Visited NS, he stresses on us going SWIMMING. He says after 40 years treating backs, swimming is the only thing that seems to help to straighten our backs and get us back on track.
Thank God, I didn't hurt myself. I really wish I had a pool in my house. When I posted in-ground, I meant that it was not an above ground pool. I have a very large pool, 18 x 36. My husband built it years ago. We have had many pleasurable summers with it and unfortunately, this is also how I damaged my neck. One night we had a few cocktails and went swimming. In the diving area it is only 9 feet deep. When I went to dive, I had did more of a swan dive and slammed my head right on the bottom. Needless to say, I no longer dive. But I sure do float...lol
Oh man Tomorrow!!!!
something similar happened to me. Husband and I used to go water-skiing a lot. We had so many pressurable moments. One day, I rode an air tube. I was laying on my belly and as I was trying to lift my legs off the water, I was telling hubby to speed up the boat more and more. The more he did speed it the harder was for me to lift my legs. By doing that, I squeezed the jelly out of my L5 disc. Now my husband sold the boat. He says he will buy another one perhaps a couple of year down the line. ... don't know yet.
Time to refresh this post, because IT'S GOOD advice!
I for one cannot swim because it arches my back causing pain, but I do deep water aerobics with a belt, and it has helped my pain immensely, and stretched everything out so that I'm supple again and can move better. I swear the water is the BEST thing for us. I've been able to strengthen my body. I too walk every day, but that wasn't strengthening my body or stretching muscles like t he water exercises do.
I've been doing it every day and seen huge improvements. If I miss, I hurt. I agree that all the money spent on PT would have been better spent on a YMCA membership and use of the pool.
I have nerve damage to my foot so the water against the foot causes pain to the foot, but the back pain recedes as soon as I hit the water. Really, you guys need to try the pool if you haven't already.
Is there any way of finding out what exercises to do in the pool, and do them correctly ? I only have a 4' deep pool but its wide w/ plenty of room. I have some of the styrafoam noodles that I help balance myself when walking around. I love it, but I have overdone it at times and would like to know some exercises for bad low backs(scar tissue)/ legs. Thanks for any info...
I swim quite often but I improvise. I once was a strong swimmer and swam lengths now my cervical spine doesn't allow me to do any crawls so guess what I stay in the deep end and tread water endlessly I also lay on my back and clunk along. No twisting and turning only gently working muscles that otherwise I would not be able to exercise on land. I go with a friend or my husband and chat away as time flys by and before you know it I have an hour of exercise under my "belt". No butterflys, front crawls for me and no vigorous twisting movements. When you are crippled up and unable to walk very far any exercise can be of benefit. This is one form of exercise that my bad back, bad feet, bad hip....etc doesn't prevent me from doing....lol
Pooby (gal) why doesn't my signature insert itself all the time....guess I just have to continue to edit.
Well....lemme see...a few years back I asked the doctor if I could try aqua therapy..so he wrote an order for aqua therapy.I was thinking this would be great and I started therapy.Honest to God I could barely walk for the next 2 days after each treatment.I went for about 5 visits and stopped .
Now 3 years later I had a pool put in...basically in anticipation of rehabing my back after another surgery.Well the doctor isn't talking surgery...I know I need it....hoping to get 2 level ADR done,BUT anyway..the pool was finished about 2 months ago and I had just started seeing a chiropractor..and she did certain traction movements on the table that I knew I could duplicate in the pool.So I bought one of those pool recliners that are an inflatable tube around the outside and mesh on the inside and it worked perfectly.I've been able to stretch my lumbar gently and have been able to just kind of hang on the recliner and swivel getting a good circular range of motion..and I've figured out how to do a crunch.I am trying to strengthen my core as much as I can before having surgery.It really is helping...and even just hanging from the recliner alone helps to decompress the spine....I still have a problem but this does give me a little relief.