Despite horrible back pain, I've been able to stay in shape by swimming. I'm finally going to have a spinal fusion for the problem. Will I ever be able to swim again?

Unless something unexpected happens the answer should be yes! Patients are encouraged to resume activities after spinal fusion as soon as symptoms allow.

You'll likely be up and walking with the physical therapist the day after surgery. Some surgeons order a support or brace for their patients. Many don't use anything.

Swimming and low-impact aerobic exercise are usually allowed two weeks after the operation. Each surgeon has his or her own timeline so be sure and ask for guidelines.

Heavy lifting and strenuous activity isn't allowed for at least six months. Many people return to their jobs and former activities with little trouble.