As we all know, summertime can be hot. So, what better way to cool down than in the water? Swimming is not only one of the most popular summer activities, but it’s one of the best forms of exercise for those who suffer from back pain as well.
The Benefits of Swimming for Back Pain
Chronic back pain can often cause suffers to avoid exercise. Lifting weights, running, and biking can not only become difficult and painful, but they can put you at risk of further injury. It is more important than ever to stay in shape if you’re suffering from back pain. Carrying excess weight – especially in your mid-section – can push your pelvis forward and cause strain on your intervertebral discs.
This is where the pool comes to the rescue! Swimming is a low-impact exercise; the buoyancy of the water helps to reduce pressure on your joints and spine by supporting your body weight. At the same time, the tension in the water creates resistance, which helps to strengthen the muscles faster than with land-based exercises. Strengthening the muscles that support the spine is imperative for improving posture and alleviating stress on the back. Also, being in the water can help promote blood flow, which aids the body in its healing process.
How to Get Started
Be careful. Don’t just dive right in! As is the case with beginning any exercise program, it’s important to start slow. If you aren’t careful in the pool, you can end up doing more damage to the spine than good. Swimming with the proper form is critical to preventing further injury to the back and/or neck. If you aren’t yet comfortable in the water, consider taking a swim lesson with a trained professional to gain confidence and learn the proper technique.
Start off by spending at least thirty minutes in the pool, a minimum of three days per week. Whatever your routine may be, consistency is the key to reaping the benefits of aquatic exercise.
*Always consult with a doctor before beginning any new exercise regimen.
Water Exercises for a Healthy Spine
Water Walking: Water walking is the perfect way for a beginner to gain confidence in the pool while building muscles. Start in waist-high water, and simply walk from side to side of the pool keeping your back straight. As you become stronger and more comfortable, try slowly graduating to deeper waters.
Water Aerobics: Although you may look silly, water aerobics can be a fun way to get a great workout and alleviate back pain. Many of the exercises in a water aerobics class will help to strengthen your core by mimicking land-based exercises, such as running, dancing or jumping jacks – all without the impact!
Swimming Laps: Swimming laps is one of the fastest ways to get a strong and lean back. The stronger your back muscles are, the more equipped they will be to handle everyday activities. The result? Less aches and pains. However, don’t try to swim laps if you don’t know the best stroke for your injury or don’t have the proper technique down. Consult with your doctor and/or a trained swim coach to determine which stroke you will benefit from the most.
As always, consult with a doctor before beginning any new exercise regimen. Choosing a spine doctor is an important decision that can be intimidating and overwhelming. Dr. Anant Kumar specializes in adult degenerative cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine surgery, pediatric spine surgery, scoliosis, and complex spinal deformity.
Unlike any other orthopedic surgeon in the country, Dr. Kumar has additional subspecialty training in Orthopedics through four fellowships, a grueling process requiring an additional five years of training.
Dr. Kumar has the ability to draw upon his extensive training and experience to find the most effective treatment for his patients. If you are looking for a skillful and reliable spine doctor in Colorado, schedule an appointment at Colorado Spine & Scoliosis today.