Does Swimming Help Relieve Back Pain?

The Effect of Swimming on Back Pain in Santa Monica, CA

Too much rest can make back pain worse. Yet some exercises can result in increased discomfort. Swimming can be a happy medium between rest and exercise that allows for the movement you need without placing too much pressure on back muscles. Swimming is unique in that it’s considered a low-impact aerobic activity that can promote muscle strengthening, yet the water absorbs the weight that would normally put pressure on joints.

Going at Your Own Pace

You can go at your own pace and take advantage of the buoyancy of the water. The water actually provides added support to the back, which make it easier to get through a low-impact workout.

Combing Swimming with PT

Initially, swimming for relief of back pain may not be a good idea until you’ve been evaluated by an experienced board-certified spine physician like Dr. Hyun Bae in Los Angeles, especially if your pain is getting progressively worse. However, if a specific cause of your back pain, such as disc herniation or a narrowing of the spine resulting in nerve compression, hasn’t been identified, swimming may be combined with physical therapy exercises.

Building Up to Swimming

In some cases, diving right into the water and going for a swim may not be possible if you’ve either had recent back surgery in Los Angeles to address your pain or you’re not familiar with proper form. Some PT facilities contain swimming areas where patients can start off by walking around the pool and gradually build up to swimming after learning the correct form.

Pool Therapy as an Alternative

Swimming isn’t for everyone with back pain. If swimming actually aggravates your back pain, pool therapy is often an acceptable alternative. With pool therapy, you’ll get all the benefits of exercising in water that supports your body weight without the risk of added pain from the repetitive hand and foot motions associated with swimming.

While swimming may provide relief from back pain, remember proper form for basic moves like the breaststroke or crawl to prevent unintentional discomfort. Goggles can reduce head movements. Side and backstrokes can be less demanding than front strokes. Pool therapy can be an acceptable variation. Flotation devices can also help with form.

Interested in learning more about treatment options for ongoing neck or back pain? Reach out to The Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration at (310) 828-7757 and request an in-person consultation with our experienced team of spine physicians who are leaders in minimally invasive spine surgery in Los Angeles. Call today.