Recreational swimming is a highly recommended activity for people with back injuries*. It helps alleviate the pain, strengthen muscles, and improve mood.
People who had experiences with back injuries need a low impact form of physical activity. Swimming is often recommended as the most helpful exercise for this.
Swimming can allow one to exercise while placing less pressure on your spine and joints. This allows the type of exercise to be typically easier as well as provide an array of benefits for patients with back pain.
How recreational swimming benefits you
There are several reasons for back pain, among some of the most common causes of back pain are strained ligaments and muscles. Swimming allows greater freedom of movement in an environment that places less strain on the joints.
Swimming helps ease the stress on muscles and joints in the back and body. More importantly, it helps increase one's range of motion. Water also can provide a healthy dose of hydrostatic pressure, which encourages healthy blood circulation.
Typically swimming works to exercise large and small muscles equally, depending on which exercises you choose to do in the water.
Some people find that the best exercises are those performed in a standing or vertical position, which helps you avoid any unnecessary hyper-extension and keeps the spine neutral.
Taking the time to stretch and exercise the hip and core muscles can work to improve flexibility and core strength, both of which are helpful.
Recommended swimming exercises for low back pain*
The following swimming exercises are proven to help reduce back pain.
Water aerobics is a good workout for those recovering from a back injury. This workout helps condition lower back muscles and your core. It's also great preparation for lap swimming.
Start your session with running or walking in place in the water to get your back and joints unweighted. Try jogging in water and shift tempos. Increase speed every 30 seconds. Pay special attention to warming up, cooling down, and include flexibility exercises.
Backstroke can help by stretching and strengthening your back over time.
Recreational swimming is a highly recommended type of physical therapy because water helps eliminate the stress on muscles and joints in the back.
Pull drills involve swimming using your arms while isolating the legs. This sort of movement helps to stretch the lower back while avoiding strain on other areas of the back.
Not one form of exercise works for everyone, it's important to ensure that you work with your pain management provider on your start-up and progress. Should you feel that any of your exercises are worsening your pain, be sure to communicate this to your pain doctor.
Remember for patients in pain, movement serves to lubricate joints and improve flexibility, both of which are helpful.
* IMPORTANT NOTE: When exercising, never push yourself past the point of experiencing pain. Always consult with your pain doctor before engaging in any physical activities that may be unsafe for your individual pain condition.