In August 2010 I injured my back causing the Lumbar 4/5 Intervertebral disc to prolapse 22mm. Compression of the L5 and L4 nerves caused weakness, loss of sensation and numbness of my right leg. I found it extremely painful and difficult to even walk small distances. I had to stop working (I’m an aqua aerobics instructor), in fact I couldn’t do much of anything and I was on strong pain medication, including Oxycodone, round the clock just to get through the day.Surgeons performed a microdiscectomy on the 12th of October. I immediately regained almost all sensation in my leg, but still experienced some weakness and pain. After surgery the physiotherapist’s main aim for rehab was to concentrate on my core strength and stability.By day ten post-op, the surgery scar had healed enough for the doctor to give me the green light to get in the pool. As an aqua aerobics instructor, I knew that I could perform all of the physio exercises and more in the water with great results and with less discomfort. Also, I’d participated in Marietta’s Aqua Gymstick Workshop in June so I knew how effective the Gymstick was for building strength and stability through the core.So 2 to 3 times per week I grabbed my Aqua Gymstick and got in the pool for 30-60 minutes. I performed really basic and slow exercises concentrating on using my arms and legs at the same time. I found that, with the bands attached to my feet and my hands manipulating the stick, my mid-section really needed to work hard at keeping me balanced and moving in the right direction.I did anything that would challenge all those little stabiliser muscles and postural muscles to work hard and keep me balanced in the water. For example:I walked through the water while using the stick as a canoe paddle – opposite arm to leg
With the bands twisted, I did side steps while performing various arm exercises (bicep curls/ up-right row/ shoulder press etc)
With the stick behind me, I did small front kicks or big steps while pushing the stick away from my bodyI expected to feel stiff, sore and fatigued after these sessions considering that I’d not been able to move for two months and it was very soon after surgery but I actually got out of the pool feeling stronger and re-energized and much more flexible. Whenever I have to do any physical activity on land the muscles in my lower back and hips become tight and sore but that does not happen when I work in the water. The combination of the water and aqua gymstick allows for greater resistance in a gentle, supportive environment allowing me to work harder and get faster results.It’s now nine weeks since my surgery and I am back at work! My physiotherapist is amazed at how much I am able to do… he pointed out that at this stage most people who have this surgery are still practising walking.