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Thread: Exercising with Leaks

  1. #1
    Community Member
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    Jul 2011

    Default Exercising with Leaks

    I have copied from the archive and pasted this thread. Hopefully, it works.

    Quote Originally Posted by LeakingnHissinginPotomac
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    07-09-2011, 01:45 PM
    New Community Member Join Date: Jul 2011
    Posts: 23

    Exercising with Leaks
    Hi All,

    In the good old days before HA's, CSF leaking and hissing and vibrating tinnitus, I enjoyed working out a few times a week with weights and did some cardio on an exercise bike, treadmill and elliptical. This morning I did 20 minutes on an exercise bike, the first exercise I have done in quite a while.

    Question of the day. What have Dr. Schievink, Dr. Gray (Liethe) and other IH-CSF Leak experts advised regarding exercise in periods when you are not on bed rest recovering from a blood patch, fibrin glue or surgical procedure? Any do's or dont's?



    07-09-2011, 07:56 PM
    Community Member Join Date: Jun 2009
    Posts: 85

    After my surgeries and blood patch, Dr. S has given me specific timelines to follow. I usually don't stop doing anything other than walking around for 60 days. Then he said it is okay to do light exercise. Usually by 90+, I am back to working out 4-5 days a week. I work out in the very early morning, because that is when I feel the best. I have found that for me, my headaches, nausea, etc, are not worsened by working out. Sometimes I already feel bad when I work out and other times I don't. Working out is such a stress reliever for me that I think it is like therapy. I had to go to physical therapy after a couple of surgeries and I tend to start back with weights, following the protocol I was taught in PT. I still avoid intense straining (like squats, push ups) but do both free and machine weights, as well as cardio.

    07-09-2011, 08:06 PM
    Distinguished Community Member Join Date: Nov 2009
    Location: Long Island, NY
    Posts: 103

    Like Txcinda, I find working out is a great stress-reliever. I also do cardio in the morning, when I am at my best. I often get to the gym with a severe headache, but push thru it since I reason if I keep my body strong, I am more able to fight this pain. I guess I refuse to let it interfere with my previous routine. I formerly played competitive racquetball, and maybe some day I'll be back... ALWAYS optimistic!

    I rarely feel worse, and often feel better after my workout, although I let my head dictate how hard I do my routine (mainly cardio).
    I saw Dr. Gray-Leithe in December for several bp, and she advised to resume all my normal activities, as tolerated.

    I would keep the gym work short at first, and varied, and you might benefit from jotting down how you feel for the rest of the day. Journals have been a great tool for me on this medical journey.

    Good luck to you.

    Best wishes from another leaker and fighter!
    - Marianne
    Last edited by paradice15; 07-09-2011 at 08:37 PM.

    07-11-2011, 10:48 AM
    New Community Member Join Date: Jul 2011
    Posts: 23

    I agree that working out helps relieve stress. And I too do my workouts in the morning. The main concern that I have is whether a particular exercise will worsen my condition, that is, will it create a larger tear or whatever it is that I have that is the source of the CSF leak or will it make the leak harder to seal or fix. So many kinds of exercises use/affect muscles and areas in the back. Part of the weight workouts I used to do involved back machines. Although i was not lifting a lot of weight, I can't help but wonder whether I did something that resulted in a tear. My leak is in the thoracic area at T9-10.

    I am returning to exercising slowly, but at least for now I am going to do easy cardio (exercise bike and treadmill, maybe elliptical) and stay away from the weights. But even doing the exercise bike, I felt my back and wondered.


    07-19-2011, 12:08 AM
    Community Member Join Date: Aug 2010
    Location: British Columbia, Canada
    Posts: 45

    Progressive Exercise
    Progressive cardio exercise is a great healer for minor brain "injury". I think a lot of symptoms that linger after the leak has healed are due to an "irritable" brain much like in a post-concussion syndrome. Once my leak sealed off I too was left with the non-positional headaches and loud tinnitus. I found gently pushing myself on a road bike helped me more than anything. I'm not totally there but getting closer. There is a lot of literature in the post-concussion patients supporting this as well. It is cardio that is the key, not strength training.

    There are a couple of important caveats. I think that if you are a spontaneous leaker (especially if you have a CT disorder) you need to be very careful. Anything that will increase CSF pressure puts you at risk of popping another leak. Straining, bending, twisting are all to be avoided. As for exercise after a blood patch I'd be very slow to start. The blood patch acts as a scaffold for your own fibrin to cover over that leak. Even small increases in CSF pressure can negate the healing process. A lot of people on this site found that just the wrong move after their BP caused them to re-leak.

    07-21-2011, 02:20 PM
    New Community Member Join Date: Jul 2011
    Posts: 23

    I assume that your comment about avoiding straining, bending and twisting is limited to a period of healing after a blood patch procedure. It would be nice to think that returning at some point to a normal life is a realistic possibility.

    For my upcoming blood patch procedure, I will keep in mind your advice. If there is any possibility that the patch is working, I will do my best not to make a wrong move. I really hope that I have that issue to be concerned about.


    07-21-2011, 07:53 PM
    Community Member Join Date: Aug 2010
    Location: British Columbia, Canada
    Posts: 45

    A normal life
    I think my physiotherapist said it best: in life you bend, twist and lift. What's important is you prepare your body for everyday life by strengthening the core. Just start low, go slow. Gradually increase your effort to get to "normal".

    No one can ever give you a definitive answer when it will be OK to "go for it". Talk to Dr. Grey, she's done a LOT of these patches and will be the best to advise you when to start with some activity.

    Here's hoping for the best. These symptoms are awful and I truly hope that everyone here can find some form of relief.

    08-02-2011, 07:09 PM
    Community Member Join Date: Jun 2010
    Location: Pacific Northwest
    Posts: 98

    I do very little except walking and light lifting. I have dura that is falling apart and I am careful to avoid heavy lifting, twisting, bending etc. It is a risk for me and my spinal connective tissue. Needless to say, I suffer from "physical deconditioning". Pretty funny as I was once a volunteer YMCA staff trainer. No joke.

    You do what you can do. Check with your doctor to see what is right for you and your cause of leak.

    Wishing you a fine day and bowl of cherries (or berries or peaches),
    Spontaneous spinal. "Crummy dura". Cysts. 3 BPs, 1 glue, 2 surgeries, 4 LPs, 4 CTs & 7 MRIs. Still leaking.

    Call me Delta Airlines, because I can't handle all your extra baggage. - Ned Flanders

  2. #2

    Default My 2 cents 4 what they r worth

    My advice would b:
    - yes, walking and biking r fine, but avoid running. Swimming would b a great idea 2.
    -lifting weights is ok, but use light weight, and increase repetitions if u need more of a challenge.
    -have u ever tried pilates? I loved it during recovery. I just didn't do the things I didnt feel comfortable with. (meanwhile the 70+ year old lady beside me was giving me funny looks).
    -just don't over do it. Remember your history. When I was healed and sealed for 2 years, I resumed my normal activity, n
    ot keeping in mind I have crummy dural tissue (I had a spontaneous leak). That is what led to to where I am now; flat on my back. ;)
    Good luck!

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