AustinPUG Health

AustinPUG Health

Did you know that swimming can be an effective healer for back pain? Swimming is the ultimate low-impact activity that can build muscles without causing joint injuries or other issues. Many doctors recommend swimming as the exercise of choice for individuals with back injuries because it is so low-impact and can strengthen the muscles slowly and effectively.

80017 swimming tips 300x240 Swimming and Back Pain ReliefHow Swimming Helps

Swimming provides several benefits for exercise. First, water is extremely buoyant, which means there is minimal stress on the joints. The act of swimming strengthens the core and back muscles, which are both tied together. A stronger core equals a stronger back, and vice versa. Swimming is also a great activity for overweight individuals, because it reduces the feeling of heaviness while exercising. Swimming also uses the entire body at once, which is an effective workout for losing weight.

Cautions for Swimming with Back Pain
Although there are many benefits to swimming for back pain, it does have a few issues as well. Before you jump into a pool, consult with a doctor or physical trainer to see if exercising in a pool will make the injury worse. Swimming in cold water can cause joint pain or cause the muscles to freeze up. This will reduce the effectiveness of your training. Try to swim in lukewarm to slightly warm water. Too-hot water can cause other problems, like dehydration or overheating, so avoid extremely hot water as well as cold.

Tips for Swimming

  • Pay careful attention to form. The breaststroke and backstrokes are the best for healing back injuries. The other stroke types (like the butterfly), require too much trunk movement that can hurt the back. You reduce hyperextension by being on your back. Switching between different swimming positions can help strengthen different areas of the back and will help strengthen your core and muscles more effectively.
  • Start by swimming about twice a week, then gradually increase the time in the water. In a 2009 study conducted by Kyoritsu Hospital in Japan, 35 people who had back pain saw improvements and reduction in pain after six months of aquatic exercise. It didn’t matter how well the participants could swim when they started.
  • Keep your body level in the water. Try to hold your ab muscles in while you exercise. This will increase the benefit of swimming. It will be hard at first, but get easier with time.
  • Practice rolled breathing by turning your head to the side or completely rolling over to breathe rather than lifting the head to breathe while swimming.
  • Use the aid of flotation devices, if necessary, to maintain the right form while swimming.

If you follow these tips, then you should see a reduction in your back pain over time. Combine swimming with other doctor-sanctioned back-strengthening activities for a back that will have reduced pain within just a few short months. You may also see other beneficial changes, such as a reduction in body fat or and increase in muscle strength in all the muscles in the body.

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About the author:  Nate Miller, a part time guest blogger and full time health expert. Nate specializes in the field of back injury and recommends anyone who is suffering from it to consider facet joint injections as a treatment. In his free time, Nate likes to work out and explore the hidden treasures of the globe.


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