Medical Forum
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Question
Posted : December 9, 2011
Hi, I am a 39 year old in good health apart from the following. I recently had an L5S1 discectomy which appears to have been a success. I appreciate each case is different but are there any guidelines as to if and when i'll be able to dive again? Thanks

Answer
Posted : December 12, 2011
Hello and thanks for the query.

Presumably you would have had this surgery for back pain with some neurological symptoms, so by "success" I'm assuming that your symptoms have resolved? If so, then be guided by the neurosurgeon and their advice on when you can return to exercise.

The concern with diving relates to strain put on the lower back when hauling heavy wet kit (and yourself) up ladders etc. - the spine and hips take the brunt of the workload here and if the area is weakened then injury can occur. Obviously there are practical things you can do to circumvent these issues - kit and dekit in the water, ask others to help with tank lifting etc. I would estimate a period of 3 months or so before you can go back to unrestricted physical activity.

Hope that helps

Regards, Dr O
Answer provided by Dr Oliver Firth
Dr Ollie Firth
Additional Comment

Posted : December 12, 2011 by - Pooley
Thanks for that, i'd heard horror stories about not diving for 5 years etc and was about to flog my gear !
Disclaimer:
The views expressed by Dr Firth & Dr Jules are their own and the publishers accept no liability for the advice and views expressed by Dr Firth , Dr Jules, or other users, which are provided as a general service to divers. Users are warned that secondary posts are the views of other users and may not be medically correct.
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