Is Swimming Good for My Back?

by | May 28, 2021 | Back Pain Care Denver, back and spine center denver, colorado spine doctor

Whether you feel at home frolicking in the ways or are simply looking for an alternative form of exercise, swimming is an activity that appeals to people of all ages and walks of life, especially when summer rolls around!
If you experience back pain or are concerned about aggravating a previous back injury, you may be hesitant about diving in. After all, there are always risk factors when embarking on a new fitness journey, whether it’s your first time or a rediscovery of a past passion.
Rather than fretting or searching the internet endlessly for answers, we suggest you check out the brief guide to swimming and back pain below!

Low-Impact Exercise

If you experience back pain or have to work around injuries, you are likely familiar with the struggle of balancing your health and exercise. Certain activities, especially those with high impact like running, can aggravate your back and lead to pain.
Swimming, on the other hand, is considered a low or no-impact form of exercise. In fact, it is often used as a form of therapy for those who are recovering from surgeries. As such, swimming is a great way for those with back issues to get active while minimizing risk!

Health Benefits

Swimming can be an incredible form of both cardiovascular and strength training. While both forms of fitness are important to overall health and wellbeing, they can be even more beneficial for those with back pain.
This is because strengthening your back, core, and cardiovascular system through healthy, safe movements can actually help reduce back pain.

Start Slow

If you love swimming or are interested in adopting it as an excellent form of exercise but are concerned about your back, you may want to start slowly and ease into it. Water therapy is the perfect solution to this conundrum.
Typically conducted in a pool, water therapy utilizes the buoyancy of water to reduce the stress that exercise can have on the body. The warmth of the water can also benefit your back by relaxing your muscles and enhancing your range of motion.

Choosing the Right Strokes

Not all swimming is created equal. If you are inexperienced as a swimmer or use a stroke that places stress on the wrong areas of your back, you could end up causing yourself more pain instead of less. As such, it’s important to choose the right strokes when swimming with back pain.
The right strokes for you will be dependent on your particular back pain. For example, freestyle swimming keeps your back arched naturally but forces your lower back to rotate repeatedly. On the other hand, the butterfly stroke does not require rotation but does force the spine to arch.

No matter what motivates you to swim or the back issues you may have, it is important to consult your doctor before diving in. They will be happy to address your concerns, evaluate the safety with which you can enjoy the activity, and even give you pointers to help you find the best stroke for your situation. So, get in touch with your doctor, whether you’re a seasoned swimmer or just getting your feet wet!


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