Anything that can ease chronic back pain without making it worse is a welcome relief if you’re among the 30 million or so Americans living with persistent lower back pain. Water-based therapies, in particular, allow patients to perform certain movements without having to deal with the natural effects of gravity that may aggravate joints and muscles.
What is Aquatic Therapy?
Aquatic therapy for chronic LBP can be any type of exercise routine performed in the water. Organized therapy sessions, sometimes overseen by a physical therapist, are often held in heated indoor pools to increase comfort for participants. According to spine surgeons in Los Angeles, aquatic therapy may include:
- Water walking or jogging
- Forward and side lunges
- Alternating leg balances
- Arm raises using pool paddles
Seeing Results with Hydrotherapy
A pilot study involving 20 people with chronic low back pain treated subjects with three hydrotherapy sessions per week for a month. Participants displayed increased mobility, especially those who were already experiencing limited mobility due to their LBP prior to starting sessions, and a noticeable reduction in pain levels in the lower back area. Hydrotherapy helps patients since the water:
- Permits a greater ranger of pain-free movements
- Provides enough friction to strengthen muscles
- Promotes better circulation and blood flow
Who Benefits from These Therapies?
Aquatic or hydrotherapy can benefit back pain suffers with osteoarthritis, or so-called “brittle bone disease,” since added pressure on bones can make other forms of exercise difficult. It’s also recommended for muscle strains or patients with non-specific lower back pain not linked to a serious mechanical issue.
Combining Water Therapy with Traditional Treatments
Patients often benefit more from aquatic or hydrotherapy when it’s combined with doctor-recommended treatments. In some cases, patients may have more productive physical therapy sessions when they’re also participating in water-based therapy sessions at the same time since muscles will already be more relaxed and receptive to strengthening exercises.
Before starting any type of water-based therapy for your chronic low back pain, check with a board-certified back doctor. In addition to being gentle on lower back muscles, water therapies also tend to encourage relaxation and relieve stress, which can further reduce instances of back pain when you’re out of the water.
Learn more about nonoperative treatments for back pain by calling The Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration at (310) 828-7757 today. We serve the entire Los Angeles area and specialize in motion-preserving spine surgery as well as minimally invasive spine treatments.