The arthritis pain in my neck began to be painful even when I swam with my snorkel. Last fall, the doc told me to temporary hang up my swimsuit until the pain was gone. Not what I wanted to hear, but I understood. I respect the healing process that all parts of the body need during recovery.
On the plus side, walking was still OK. At least I could do something! I simply had to focus on keeping my neck loose when walking, and to slow down, stop, or take a day or two off when my neck flared up. I was a regular walker, so I just kept that up, hitting the mall during the slippery, snowy days. That was great, but I missed the ability to strengthen my upper body.
Finally, my doc gave me permission to hit the pool. The deal was to swim gentle laps. For only 5 - 10 minutes. And to keep that up, not push any longer or harder, for 3 weeks. If I didn't feel pain afterward, I was cleared to repeat the next day. Geesh. Was it even worth it for such a short swim?
Of course it was. I was pumped up on Friday as I grabbed my gym bag and headed to the pool. Using my snorkel, I swam 6 minutes. Gently. It felt great to be in the water again, and the neck was good. A water aeorbics class was starting right afterward, so I joined in, thinking it should be alright as long as I relaxed my neck and made adjustments on the moves if I needed to. Wrong.
My neck was angry the next day. My pool time was too much. It'll have to be either the water exercise class or the swim. I know, I know. I should have known better, but it got carried away since I was feeling so much better.
Possible morals of the story:
- Always listen to your doctor.
- Fight the excitement: don't do too much too soon.
- Baby steps all the way!
I've babied my neck all weekend. Now, the next time I hit the pool it'll be 5 - 10 minutes of lap swimming. End of story!