Back pain can occur for a number of reasons, including a sudden injury, poor posture, or due to wear and tear on the body. If you struggle with back pain, you might find that some exercises end up causing you more pain or are too uncomfortable to do at all. Working out in the water has great benefits for people who struggle with back pain because it is a low-impact activity. When you visit your chiropractor in Atlanta, they may recommend certain stretches and exercises to help address your back pain. Talk with your chiropractor about recommendations for pool exercises that would help with the specific cause of your back pain.
Swimming as a Low-Impact Exercise
Working out in the water is a great exercise for all types of people, including those who struggle with back pain. The water helps to take the pressure off your body, so your muscles and joints can move around more freely. The buoyancy of water actually helps to support up to 90 percent of your weight, which means your spine and joints are less stressed. When you are in the water, your body also isn’t affected by gravity so you can experience a wider range of motion than you would on land. Working out in a pool is also healthy for your heart because of the resistance during water exercises.
How Pool Exercises Help Reduce Back Pain
When you have back pain, your muscles tend to be weaker and become stiff and sore. Exercising in the pool gives your body a chance to use the natural resistance in the water to strengthen your muscles. All your muscles are engaged when you move through the water, which makes for a healthy and aerobic full-body workout. When your muscles are stiff, they start to lose range of motion. Pool exercises offer a gentle and therapeutic approach to improving your flexibility. You may also notice improvements in your balance, coordination, and endurance after participating in regular pool exercises.
5 Pool Exercises to Reduce Back Pain
Walking through Water
Get off to an easy start by walking the length of the pool and back for a few laps. The more submerged you are in the water, the more buoyant you will be and the more resistance your body will experience. You may want to start off walking end to end with your upper body mostly out of the water before moving into a deeper area. Walking through water is a great warm-up for other pool exercises as well because it gets your heart rate up and helps your body acclimate to the water environment.
Next, you may enjoy swimming laps across the pool and back. You can start off doing laps across the width of the pool before working up to swimming laps length-wise. You don’t have to be a professional swimmer or know all the right strokes to still get a good workout by swimming laps. However, when you swim laps, try to keep your head, neck, and spine in a straight line, which may involve your head underwater, so be sure to grab a pair of goggles if you prefer!
Knees to Chest
Moving your legs through the water while maintaining a healthy posture can help your body stretch and flex in ways it may not be able to without the help of buoyancy and water resistance. One leg activity that can help reduce back pain involves bringing your knees to your chest one at a time. Stand on your dominant side leg with the knee slightly bent and bring the knee of your other leg up to your chest and then lower it back down. Repeat this a number of times before swapping to the other side.
Sit and Balance
Grab a flat float, noodle, or kickboard that you can comfortably sit on and balance. Be sure to keep your spine straight and your head and neck aligned while you let your legs naturally float in the pool. This exercise will engage your abs to promote balance and challenge you to practice proper posture with your muscles engaged.
Take a water aerobics class and learn more about how this pool exercise can help you gain strength and flexibility as well as relieve your pain. Water aerobics instructors teach exercises that are similar to what you might do on land, but modified for being in the water.
To learn more about how exercises in the pool may help you with your back pain, visit one of our Atlanta chiropractors at AICA Orthopedics with multiple locations spread out across metro Atlanta.