Four reasons for spine pain sufferers to get in the water
When it’s hot outside it seems like a no brainer to get in the water to cool down. No matter the weather, there are other good reasons to try floating, swimming and water yoga. If you want to strengthen your core, are feeling stressed or just want a way to relax, the water can be a great option, especially for those dealing with back pain. Learn about some ways that spending time in the water can be good for people who have back pain.
- Relaxation. Floating around on a raft seems like the very definition of relaxation. However, floating vertically, with your head above water and your feet down, has its own set of benefits. Because of the water’s pressure on all sides of your body, this version of floating can help slow your heart rate and breathing pattern to aid in calming your nervous system. Using a foam pool noodle can help you float at the right level by placing it under your arms.
- Lessens pressure on painful joints. Low-impact movement puts less pressure on your spine and other joints than activities like running. Those with joint pain will find that being in the water helps them get moving to relieve lower back pain. One way to take advantage of water’s weaker gravity is to try water yoga. Feeling weightless can allow you to get into poses you may normally find challenging.
- Resistance without added weight. The strength it takes to swim, walk or do aerobics in water builds muscles and strengthens the core to support the spine. Strong core muscles help take the pressure off painful spinal discs. If you want more resistance in the water you can simply cup your hands and push or pull the water away from you. There are also specially made water dumbbells that are made of foam, but instead of being heavy to lift, they’re heavy to push down. Because of how light they are, they’re much easier to store and carry than regular weights.
- Swimming is aerobic exercise. Active swimming or even walking in water helps improve heart function and blood flow. While water helps slow heart rate, being active in the water is still great exercise and helps get the blood pumping. Improved circulation helps nutrients move through the bloodstream, aiding in the body’s effort to heal itself.
When starting a water exercise regimen, like trying any new activity, it is important to speak with your physician or physical therapist to ensure you aren’t putting yourself at risk for injury.
Using water to float, do water yoga or get some aerobics in can help your spine feel better and ultimately lead to better health. If your neck or back pain symptoms don’t improve with conservative treatments, like swimming, it may be time for a new treatment. Contact Laser Spine Institute to find out if you’re a candidate for our minimally invasive spine surgery.