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sarah1swim
August 29th, 2007, 12:28 PM
Hi Everyone,

My name is Sarah and I just recently came back to swimming (about 3 weeks ago) after a couple years break. (I am 27).

After the first week of swimming in the local Masters program, I started to develop lower back pain. The pain got so bad that I can no longer swim...I saw my doctor and they told me that it is a muscle strain...

Has anyone else delt with lower back pain? How long was it before you started to feel better?:confused:

SwimStud
August 29th, 2007, 12:33 PM
Hi Everyone,

My name is Sarah and I just recently came back to swimming (about 3 weeks ago) after a couple years break. (I am 27).

After the first week of swimming in the local Masters program, I started to develop lower back pain. The pain got so bad that I can no longer swim...I saw my doctor and they told me that it is a muscle strain...

Has anyone else delt with lower back pain? How long was it before you started to feel better?:confused:

LOL Sarah, I'm in full spasm due to disc issues right now! I feel your pain!

I would reccomend resting up, taking some pain meds and maybe muscle relaxers or NSAIDS.
Heat the area to ease tension then Ice to take down inflammation. Always end with Ice.
You should be up and going soon...just work in gently.
Question did you use a pull buoy in your masters class? I found this adds pressure to the lower back and so I don't over do it with a pull buoy.

Lastly if resting doesn't help get a sports or back doc to check it out...Feel better soon.

Rich

sarah1swim
August 29th, 2007, 12:42 PM
Thanks for your reply. I think my major problem is that I thought that I could just start swimming workouts with no problem...like I did when I was 18. :)

The research that I did suggested that most minor back injuries (about 90%) heal within 6 weeks. I am just hoping that my pain is minor, and not major.

imspoiled
August 29th, 2007, 02:03 PM
Sarah-

You will get a different opinion from every poster on the forum, and I see Rich chimed in with the "rest & meds" side of things, so I'm going to give an alternative to that.

About a year ago I injured my back at an amusement park. The pain was severe at first, but after resting it felt better. As I resumed regular activities, the pain would return. After exhausting doctor prescribed meds, I was feeling desperate so I sought out a chiropractor.

Honestly, it was the best thing I have ever done! He took X-rays and did a mobility exam, explained the causes of my pain and worked with me to keep up with my need to swim. I have been pain free for the past 10 months, but from time-to-time there is tension (not pain) in my lower back and/or neck. I still see the chiro 1 - 2 times per month to keep everything aligned, even when everything feels good.

Recently, I learned that tension in the lower back area often indicates that the glutes are tight. Although I was skeptical, a deep tissue massage that included the glutes (I didn't feel like that area needed massage when it was scheduled) did relieve the tension in the low back area.

Given that you've recently started back to swimming, your glutes may be causing your back pain. Lots of kicking, especially if you're using a board could be stressing out the muscles and they are taking it out on your back. It could also signify a weakness in your core muscles that is being exagerated by less than perfect form (just a guess, since it's only been a few weeks back).

Good luck,
Dana

SwimStud
August 29th, 2007, 02:09 PM
*Dana's version of treatment*

Do not disagree with any of your points Dana, although I've been suffering for 20 years.
My version was the start off light and easy method of treatment, then if it doesn't go away...etc. Much like you...yours didn't go away and you took action. Resting and drugs cure very little but just relieve the sypmtomns. Stretching, monitoring your actioins and butt cheek massage all help to avoid pain!
;)

sarah1swim
August 29th, 2007, 06:18 PM
Thanks for everyone's help!

sarah1swim
August 29th, 2007, 06:22 PM
Can you still swim with your back pain?

SwimStud
August 29th, 2007, 06:36 PM
Can you still swim with your back pain?
I find it helps me but I do go a little easier and listen to my body. It helps lossen out the spasm. If your swimming makes it hurt then relax for a week or so.

ALM
August 29th, 2007, 06:52 PM
As another swimmer with a bulged disk, I am always on the lookout for articles about back pain. The Webmaster will get mad at me if I post the entire article, so here are a few excerpts. If you want a copy of the entire article, send me an e-mail.

--------
When It’s O.K. to Run Hurt
By GINA KOLATA
Published: January 11, 2007
The New York Times

JUST before the end of last year, a prominent orthopedic surgeon was stretching to lift a heavy box and twisted his back. The pain was agonizing. He could not sit, and when he lay down he could barely get up.

So the surgeon, Dr. James Weinstein of Dartmouth College, decided to go out for a run.

“I took an anti-inflammatory, iced up, and off I went,” Dr. Weinstein recalled. When he returned, he said, he felt “pretty good.”

It sounds almost like heresy. The usual advice in treating injuries is to rest until the pain goes away. But Dr. Weinstein and a number of leading sports medicine specialists say that is outdated and counterproductive. In fact, Dr. Weinstein says, when active people consult him, he usually tells them to keep exercising.

The idea, these orthopedists and exercise specialists say, is to use common sense. If you’ve got tendinitis or sprained a muscle or tendon by doing too much, don’t go right back to exercising at the same level.

The specific advice can differ from specialist to specialist. Some, like Dr. Weinstein, say most people can continue with the sport they love although they may need to cut back a bit, running shorter distances or going more slowly. Others say to cross-train at least some of the time and others say the safest thing to do is to cross-train all the time until the pain is gone. You might end up cycling instead of running, or swimming instead of playing tennis. But unless it’s something as serious as a broken bone or a ripped ligament or muscle, stopping altogether may be the worst thing to do.

“We want to keep you moving,” said Dr. William Roberts, a sports medicine specialist at the University of Minnesota and a past president of the American College of Sports Medicine. “Injured tissue heals better if it’s under some sort of stress.”

He and others acknowledge that the advice to keep moving may come as a surprise and that some doctors feel uncomfortable giving it, worried that their patients will do too much, make things worse and then blame their doctor.

“I’m not convinced this is part of every doctor’s training or that everyone is ready to make it part of mainstream medicine,” Dr. Roberts said. “You have to work with athletes a while to figure out how to do it and how to do it well.”

“The easy way out is to say, ‘Don’t exercise,’ ” said Dr. Richard Steadman, an orthopedic surgeon in Vail, Colo., and founder of the Steadman Hawkins Research Foundation, which studies the origins and treatment of sports injuries. That advice, he added, “is safe and you probably will have healing over time.” But, he said, “if the injury is not severe, resting it will probably prolong recovery.....”

But medical experts caution that people have to be careful if they try to exercise when they are injured.....

Dr. Weinstein’s advice for injured patients is among the boldest — he said it’s based on his basic research and his own experience with sports injuries, like knee pain and tendinitis of the Achilles and hamstring. Before exercise, he said, take one anti-inflammatory pill, like an aspirin. Ice the area for 20 minutes. Then start your usual exercise, the one that resulted in your injury, possibly reducing the intensity or time you would have spent. When you finish, ice the injured area again.

The advice involving an anti-inflammatory pill, Dr. Weinstein said, is based on something surgeons know — in most cases, a single anti-inflammatory pill before surgery results in less pain and swelling afterward. It also is consistent with Dr. Wang’s research because, at least in theory, it should forestall new inflammation from the exercise that is about to occur.

The icing is to constrict blood vessels before and after exercise, thereby preventing some of the inflammatory white blood cells from reaching the injured tissue.....

smontanaro
August 29th, 2007, 10:03 PM
I have the occasional back pain, mostly my sacroiliac. One thing I've changed is that during my warmup I rarely do flip turns, using open turns to make sure my lower back
is loosened up properly. Also, I've worked the past couple of months to improve my flip turns, getting my knees bent more so there's not as much strain on my back.

Skip Montanaro

sarah1swim
August 30th, 2007, 10:33 AM
Thanks everyone for your responces! I have made another doctor's appointment for Tuesday because my pain seems to be getting worse and not better. Its so frustrating when you really don't know whats wrong with your back...:) :rolleyes:

sarah1swim
September 7th, 2007, 04:17 PM
If anyone is interested, :) I went to another doctor's appointment at the "Texas Back Institute." They took x-rays of my back and didn't really tell me much. I go back for a follow-up next week.

Its a little frustrating to not really know whats wrong with my back..:confused:

indyswimbag
September 7th, 2007, 05:06 PM
I am a fellow sufferer of back pain....

dealt with sciatic nerve pain and bulging discs and I went the route of pain meds and ICE then got really frusterated with the pain and went to Dr's,,,after much ado they said that I had bulging disc...after being more than a little skeptical I finally (after much prodding from my friends) went to a chiropractor. I have to agree with imspoiled with this...between the chiropractor and stretching and a good pair of orthotics (I am a nurse and on my feet 12+ hrs a day) that I am in pretty good working order. It took the better part of 9mths...but I was able to swim during that..I laid off the heavy pulling and kicking. Did moderate free practices. Used lots of ICE and heat. I also ended up getting 1 cortisone shot into my back...It was really a combination of a lot of things but I absolutely swear by chiropractors to keep things aligned. I live here in Houston so if you want the name of a good one then just let me know...

Get better soon!

Syd
September 7th, 2007, 08:25 PM
Everyone is going to give you different advice on this one. Here are my two cents. I suffer from back pain from time to time and my quick fix involves taking muscle relaxants and doing some very mild stretching. This means lying on the floor on my back and very gently hugging both my thighs to my chest raising my bum off the ground in the process. Next I repeat with each leg individually. Generally, after 3 or 4 days of this treatment I am about 80% better already.

Far more important than curing the symptoms (although I am sure this is foremost in your mind at the moment), is long term preventative exercises. It is so easy to forget the pain once it subsides and slip back into your bad posture habits. Once again everyone is going to have their favourite back strengthening exercises. If you are familiar with yoga you will know about the Sun Salutation warm up. I do these every morning shortly after getting up. I swear by them. It would be too complicated to explain them here but if you Google: sun salutation exercises or salute to the sun or some variation I am sure you will come up with literally hundreds of explanations on how to them. I will see if i can find a link with diagrams and post later.

Syd

Ok found a link with graphics (moving ones too)! http://www.santosha.com/asanas/suryanamaskar.html Print these out, stick them to your wall and when this pain is sorted out, start doing them everymorning when you get up.

tulclark
September 8th, 2007, 09:17 AM
I too have a bulging disc problem and discovered a way to control my lower back pain from a suggestion here on this forum about one year ago. The method is called the McKenzie method and is some exercises to help realign your lower spine when pain occurs. It amounts to doing a push-up except your hips stay on the ground, so that you extend the back and push the disc back where it belongs.

Kim Tarnower, thanks for the advice last September!

If anyone is interested here's the website for the McKenzie Institute. I would highly recommend the book "Treat Your Own Back"

http://www.mckenziemdt.org/

Good luck! :groovy:

3strokes
September 8th, 2007, 09:44 AM
I (most of us) feel your (or part of your) pain. I would stick to your chiropractor. Most good ones know what they're doing. Some not so good regular doctors are too quick in not examining all possibilities.

I had severe sciatic pain on my left side a few years ago, starting in the glute and radiating down the front thingh to the back calf. No position was comfortable. (That also caused lower back pain because my body was trying, unconsciously to bend itself into less uncomfortable/painful positions). X-rays revealed two damaged discs. Chiro adjustments eased the situation somewhat but the chiro persisted in her search and discovered that, apart from the vertebral sciatic pain, I was one out ten people whose sciatic nerve runs through (the middle of) my piriformis muscle and sometimes that muscle moves or gets inflamed in such a way as to press the sciatic nerve causing what is known as pseudo-sciatica.

Again gluteal massage (but even more targeted) helped. I've been pain-free (in this particular regard; other pains in the a@@ region are different stories) since then.

Apart from all the other advice you'll get (on the forum and from your doctor///s///) make sure that when driving you're not sitting on part of your handbag/purse or some such. I had been keeping my wallet in my hip pocket. Boy, did I learn fast to keep it elsewhere.

Good luck.

bud
September 8th, 2007, 09:59 AM
... Has anyone else delt with lower back pain? How long was it before you started to feel better?
i routinely suffer a pinched nerve in my lower back (1-2x/yr, maybe 3-4x/yr). it usually takes about 3 weeks before i feel completely recovered on bad sessions, maybe as little as a week on mild ones.

this happens usually with the simplest of actions. in recent times it has been bending over the lavatory to wash my face/hands, or to get something (any size) out of the fridge. it usually happens w/o any warning what-so-ever, but sometimes i "see" it coming.

if i immediately start doing gentle forward bends and maybe some floor stretches for the back it can significantly shorten the recovery time.

i highly recommend a regular yoga practice as preventative maintenance, but if your condition is current and severe you should consult a physician first. if you do take up yoga i strongly suggest you get a teacher.... like swimming, doing it wrong can be worse.

my worst years for this were in my 20's, when i was a carpenter (i'm now pushin' 50). those were my most intensive yoga years too. if i did even just a little bit every day (usually a dozen or so sun salutations in the a.m. and some standing and some floor back asanas in the evening) i could prevent this ever happening. when it did happen the pain was merciless, and it cut into my pay, so i was VERY motivated to prevent it. once it happened simply from sitting bolt upright from lying on my back.

i firmly believe stress plays a big part in this for me. addressing that issue as well has helped a lot (in everything really).

i still do back stretches, but not often enough. (just last month i pinched that nerve again bending over to wash my hands.) i routinely "crack" (adjust) my back doing yogic back twists. i've even felt my back adjust (most recently yesterday) while i swim, especially with front crawl when i can get the most stretched out.

i find my yogic conditioning for balance has helped me immensely in my swimming practice. it is a thought process as much as anything else. when the process becomes as automatic as breathing, then you know you are getting somewhere.

i am constantly trying to lengthen my strokes, which i can most easily monitor by occasionally paying attention to my stroke count. in a SCY pool it is about 8 (full) cycles/length for the big four (an IM), on a good day.

i'm not the fastest fish in the pond, but i'm faster than most (of the general population anyway), and very efficient.

:cool:

Got Boost
September 11th, 2007, 02:19 PM
I to have occational back problems. My occupation invites back troble, I own a furniture store and still do a great deal of moving. Rest works best for me when it acts up. Stretching, before any sort of physical activity is the best thing, swimming, golf, heavy lifting etc. I hope everything works out well for you.
Got Boost

Maui Mike
September 11th, 2007, 11:43 PM
I used to get laid up with extreme back pain about every 6-8 months from the time I turned thirty until about 10 years ago, (I'm now 60). A visitor at my bed and breakfast recommended reading Dr John Sarno's book on healing back pain. I read it skeptically and didn't really buy into his theory, but it worked! I went 10 years totally free of back pain (other than mild muscle soreness when I overdo some new activity) since reading his book. But in the last year I've had two occasions where arthritis has caused enough pain in my back to limit swimming for a few weeks, but I still am a fanatic supporter of Sarno's theory. Over the years I have given copies to several acquaintances, almost all have reported the same miraculous results. It's a quick read, inexpensive, non invasive and has some carryover value to other types of pain. I consider it one of the most valuable learning experiences of my life.

sarah1swim
September 15th, 2007, 07:42 AM
Alright, I am open minded I will go out and buy the book. :agree:

ViveBene
September 15th, 2007, 08:16 AM
I just recently came back to swimming (about 3 weeks ago) after a couple years break. (I am 27).

After the first week of swimming in the local Masters program, I started to develop lower back pain.


Hi Sarah,

As the back pain seems to be swimming related (altho' may be reasonably assumed to be "caused" by other things, such as posture, alignment, weak muscles, etc.), I would work with a coach on body position in water and kicking mechanics.

Otherwise, taking a general anti-inflammatory before swimming, such as Tylenol (acetaminophen), and doing pre-workout and post-workout stretches should help (I'm not a dr., but I've been through quite a lot). Adding a small amount of daily strengthening exercises, such as basic yoga (your choice), should also help.

It's been two years since you asked your body to engage in certain motions. It might help if you reintroduce them gently and just cavort in the pool for a few days, listening to your body, before taking on structured workouts.

It does seem to be true that everybody's back problem, and the solution thereto, is different.

Good luck!

VB

geochuck
September 15th, 2007, 08:30 AM
Have a look around this site http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/booklet/view_exercise.cfm?Thread_ID=18&topcategory=Spine

Causes http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/brochure/thr_report.cfm?thread_id=10&topcategory=spine

sarah1swim
September 20th, 2007, 09:17 AM
Well my back is starting to feel better which is good. The x-rays revealed that there was nothing wrong (with what they could see)...The Doc recommended physical therapy, but I am not sure that I can afford as many sessions as they want me to go to.
I think I will go to one session and see if they can just give me a program to work with.

Blackbeard's Peg
September 20th, 2007, 11:17 AM
Sarah, it is also possible that your body position is causing your in-pool pain. To contradict Rich's 1st reply (post 2), we have a guy on our team who suffers from lower back pain. When his back starts getting tight, he grabs his pull buoy and takes off like a bat out of hell.
He has concluded that his body position sans buoy is less than optimal and that trying to maneuver through the water that way was not only slowing him down, but also putting his back in a very awkward position and thus hurting him. The buoy brought his legs up to the surface and kept his spine in line and eliminates back pain.

blainesapprentice
September 20th, 2007, 01:51 PM
Sarah--I would see if you can't find back strengthening exercises that you could do--the trainer at school is developing a program for me that uses those swiss yoga balls because after throwing my back out last year, my back has never felt 100%...I feel a lot stiffer in lower back motion and I have some low back aches and pains that are pretty continual after I've started swimming regularly....

So maybe a simple program like that might work for you as well?

sarah1swim
September 24th, 2007, 01:40 PM
Thanks for everyone's input! I have been prescribed physical therapy because the doc couldn't figure out what is wrong with my back. The pain keeps getting better for a few days and then re-flairs again.

Hopefully the physical therapist can give me something to make my pain less and my back stronger:cheerleader:

RecreationalSwimmer
September 24th, 2007, 03:10 PM
Sarah, it is also possible that your body position is causing your in-pool pain.
Sounds plausible. Focus on your lower back when you're swimming and if it's a likely problem area, try to straighten it somewhat.

marksman
September 25th, 2007, 06:33 PM
The following article appeared on the net today. Acupunture appears to help considerably.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/health/healthmain.html?in_article_id=483772&in_page_id=1774

(although...the placebo acupuncture was nearly as good lol)

I started getting back pain when I gained 30 lbs (a 15% increase in body weight...not insubstantial). Trying to get rid of it before I do any permanent damage.

Midas
September 25th, 2007, 10:27 PM
As another swimmer with a bulged disk, I am always on the lookout for articles about back pain. The Webmaster will get mad at me if I post the entire article, so here are a few excerpts. If you want a copy of the entire article, send me an e-mail.

--------
When It’s O.K. to Run Hurt
By GINA KOLATA
Published: January 11, 2007
The New York Times

JUST before the end of last year, a prominent orthopedic surgeon was stretching to lift a heavy box and twisted his back. The pain was agonizing. He could not sit, and when he lay down he could barely get up.

So the surgeon, Dr. James Weinstein of Dartmouth College, decided to go out for a run.

“I took an anti-inflammatory, iced up, and off I went,” Dr. Weinstein recalled. When he returned, he said, he felt “pretty good.”

It sounds almost like heresy. The usual advice in treating injuries is to rest until the pain goes away. But Dr. Weinstein and a number of leading sports medicine specialists say that is outdated and counterproductive. In fact, Dr. Weinstein says, when active people consult him, he usually tells them to keep exercising.

The idea, these orthopedists and exercise specialists say, is to use common sense. If you’ve got tendinitis or sprained a muscle or tendon by doing too much, don’t go right back to exercising at the same level.

The specific advice can differ from specialist to specialist. Some, like Dr. Weinstein, say most people can continue with the sport they love although they may need to cut back a bit, running shorter distances or going more slowly. Others say to cross-train at least some of the time and others say the safest thing to do is to cross-train all the time until the pain is gone. You might end up cycling instead of running, or swimming instead of playing tennis. But unless it’s something as serious as a broken bone or a ripped ligament or muscle, stopping altogether may be the worst thing to do.

“We want to keep you moving,” said Dr. William Roberts, a sports medicine specialist at the University of Minnesota and a past president of the American College of Sports Medicine. “Injured tissue heals better if it’s under some sort of stress.”

He and others acknowledge that the advice to keep moving may come as a surprise and that some doctors feel uncomfortable giving it, worried that their patients will do too much, make things worse and then blame their doctor.

“I’m not convinced this is part of every doctor’s training or that everyone is ready to make it part of mainstream medicine,” Dr. Roberts said. “You have to work with athletes a while to figure out how to do it and how to do it well.”

“The easy way out is to say, ‘Don’t exercise,’ ” said Dr. Richard Steadman, an orthopedic surgeon in Vail, Colo., and founder of the Steadman Hawkins Research Foundation, which studies the origins and treatment of sports injuries. That advice, he added, “is safe and you probably will have healing over time.” But, he said, “if the injury is not severe, resting it will probably prolong recovery.....”

But medical experts caution that people have to be careful if they try to exercise when they are injured.....

Dr. Weinstein’s advice for injured patients is among the boldest — he said it’s based on his basic research and his own experience with sports injuries, like knee pain and tendinitis of the Achilles and hamstring. Before exercise, he said, take one anti-inflammatory pill, like an aspirin. Ice the area for 20 minutes. Then start your usual exercise, the one that resulted in your injury, possibly reducing the intensity or time you would have spent. When you finish, ice the injured area again.

The advice involving an anti-inflammatory pill, Dr. Weinstein said, is based on something surgeons know — in most cases, a single anti-inflammatory pill before surgery results in less pain and swelling afterward. It also is consistent with Dr. Wang’s research because, at least in theory, it should forestall new inflammation from the exercise that is about to occur.

The icing is to constrict blood vessels before and after exercise, thereby preventing some of the inflammatory white blood cells from reaching the injured tissue.....

I pulled my lower back out for the first time last week (I *think* doing a flip turn, of all things), and this article was a godsend. After a week of staying out of the pool and not getting any better (getting worse, actually), I cautiously got back in (after taking some ibuprofen) and swam strictly freestyle without any flip turns. By the end of that first workout back, I even did some turns. The next day I felt MUCH better and while not 100%, I'm on the road to recovery. This turned out to be great advice and I recommend it to anyone with acute, rather than chronic, back pain.

The Fortress
September 25th, 2007, 11:01 PM
I pulled my lower back out for the first time last week (I *think* doing a flip turn, of all things), and this article was a godsend. After a week of staying out of the pool and not getting any better (getting worse, actually), I cautiously got back in (after taking some ibuprofen) and swam strictly freestyle without any flip turns. By the end of that first workout back, I even did some turns. The next day I felt MUCH better and while not 100%, I'm on the road to recovery. This turned out to be great advice and I recommend it to anyone with acute, rather than chronic, back pain.

Unless you're recovering from surgery or have a major problem, not exercising is not the answer.

Anti-inflammatories, if taken constantly, can impede healing. Inflammation, while painful, speeds healing. I'm in the "keep moving" school of thought.

bobbyhillny
May 3rd, 2008, 12:12 AM
I too have a bulging disc problem and discovered a way to control my lower back pain from a suggestion here on this forum about one year ago. The method is called the McKenzie method and is some exercises to help realign your lower spine when pain occurs. It amounts to doing a push-up except your hips stay on the ground, so that you extend the back and push the disc back where it belongs.

Kim Tarnower, thanks for the advice last September!

If anyone is interested here's the website for the McKenzie Institute. I would highly recommend the book "Treat Your Own Back"

http://www.mckenziemdt.org/

Good luck! :groovy:


Hi, can you elaborate more on this "pushup exercise" or any other McKensie Method for treating back and neck pain?
Thanks.

I've been experiencing back and neck pain for a few months, yes, both neck and lower back! MRI shows I have C5-6 Spondylosis (neck) and L5-6 Herniated Intervertebral Disc (aka slipped disc). I'm in my early 30s, used to lead a very active lifestyle until a few months ago, sigh. Any advices on rehab/strenthening exercises will be appreciated, thanks.

Another thing, is microdiscsectomy a safe procedure? And how long after the surgery before one can resume swimming and daily chores? I'd love to hear people's experiences.

Doc says if I don't improve I might have to do that. I'm concerned with any surgery involves one's spine and nerves. This is a great forum.

3strokes
May 3rd, 2008, 07:30 AM
Hi, can you elaborate more on this "pushup exercise" or any other McKensie Method for treating back and neck pain?
Thanks.

I've been experiencing back and neck pain for a few months, yes, both neck and lower back! MRI shows I have C5-6 Spondylosis (neck) and L5-6 Herniated Intervertebral Disc (aka slipped disc). I'm in my early 30s, used to lead a very active lifestyle until a few months ago, sigh. Any advices on rehab/strenthening exercises will be appreciated, thanks.

Another thing, is microdiscsectomy a safe procedure? And how long after the surgery before one can resume swimming and daily chores? I'd love to hear people's experiences.

Doc says if I don't improve I might have to do that. I'm concerned with any surgery involves one's spine and nerves. This is a great forum.

Best to take all your medical advice from your health care professionals. A herniated disc can be one of four stages. Bulge, Protrusion, Extrusion or Sequestration (the latter being considered a medical emergency). Depending on the location of the herniation, bending in one direction might be helpful while bending in the other direction could lead to catastrophic results. Am I trying to scare you? The answer is an emphatic: Yes. At least, in your case, you (and your health pros) "know" exactly where your spinal problems are (and. BTW, I'm pretty sure that after L5, comes S1 (there's no L6) but your doctors know that.) And the treatment from L to L might be different from L to S. Trust your (good?) doctors, Chiros and Physiotherapists. Most of them know what they're doing, while each one of us here, speaks about what we know: our own experience (in my case, recent L3-L4 lateral extrusion and a three-year old L4-L5 protrusion Sciatica and Pseudo-sciatica Piriformis Syndrome at the same time).

Good Luck (Most of us feel your pain).