Will swimming help with back pain?

When most people think of swimming, they think of children frolicking in the water. For those with neck or back pain, it seems like a good way to get hurt or exacerbate pain. However, swimming, or water therapy, is a wonderful way to strengthen core muscles without added pressure to the spine.

Swimming, or water therapy, can help relieve pain brought on by osteoarthritis and muscle strains. It is also a great form of conservative, nonsurgical treatment for those suffering from neck or back pain.

Your body may benefit from water-based exercises for many reasons, including the water’s buoyancy. The buoyancy works against gravity, making your exercise session almost weightless, which helps to relieve pressure from your back.

As you prepare to swim, keep these tips and exercises in mind:

Always warm up. Regardless of the sport or exercise, properly warming up your body is the most important aspect. Limbering up your muscles prior to working out helps to eliminate or reduce injuries. For swimming, start with a couple of slow laps to help your body get acclimated to the resistance the water brings.

Study the strokes. Make sure that you are performing your strokes properly. Swimming incorrectly can cause injury and muscle strains. Make sure that your head and body are level with the water. You may consider alternating stroke types to give your body a well-rounded workout.

Stay simple. Depending on your level of mobility, it may be best to stay simple in your water exercises. Stroking may be out of your comfort range. If it is, you may consider simple movements such as basic kicking, underwater bicycle peddling or a “superman” stretch.

Before you start a new routine, check with your physician to make sure that swimming properly aligns with your conservative treatment.



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