There’s nothing more discouraging than trying every trick in the book to ease back pain, from physical therapy to surgery, only to be met with disappointing results and the continuation of excruciating chronic pain. The spine is the springboard for bodily impacts.
From walking to jumping, bending, or sitting, our spine is integral to our function. What can be done to ease back pain?
Pool exercise! The most beneficial thing about exercising in the pool is that the weightless feeling can ease the ache of joints and disc displacement.
Aside from swimming or floating aimlessly, what are some specific exercises a person can do in the pool to help their back pain?
1. Always Warm Up
When you’re injured or facing chronic pain, it’s never a good idea to jump right into hard exercises without prepping your body and joints for what’s to come.
The best way to warm up your body for pool exercises is by walking in the pool. Your body can feel as light as a feather while treading through the water.
However, there are still some forces that your body feels against it even while submerged.
Water walking provides resistance without excessive force while maintaining your normal posture. Try walking forward normally, moving side to side, and moving backwards to get your back and joints ready for the rest.
This is a great way to get the juices flowing and give your body some movement without going too hard. Gravity is much easier to manage while underwater.
Any back pain that you usually experience won’t get as aggravated walking slowly through a pool versus running up a hill.
2. The Superman Stretch
Water’s buoyancy allows for a range of movements that might be impossible for your back to accommodate in regular gravity. Use that to your advantage in the pool to help with back pain.
The pool is your friend when it comes to your spine, joints, and bones. You can go as fast or as slow as you want when performing different movements and stretches.
To do the superman stretch, move to the edge of the pool and brace with your hands against it your shoulders length apart. Lift yourself as though you’re flying, keeping your legs straight and spreading them slightly.
Arch your back, and if you need to ease the strain on your neck, hold your breath and place your face in the water for however long you’re comfortable with.
3. Hip Swings
This exercise is wonderful for your lumbar, easing lower back pain and increasing your range of motion. It’s all in the hips, right? Many back injuries stem from an imbalance in the hips or legs.
By getting your hips moving, you create more fluidity between your legs and your torso. These parts of your body begin communicating better and working together more efficiently to help you move.
To do pool hip swings, place yourself sideways against the pool wall, but don’t grab onto it unless you feel like you’re going to lose your balance.
Next, keep your legs straight, and in 3 sets of 10 for each leg, proceed to kick your legs forward and backward.
Once forward and back is complete, turn with your front-facing the pool wall and try to do the kick reps side to side with each leg.
4. Knee to Chest
As a core exercise, this works your lower back while exercising the S-curve’s range of motion. Your core is another primary component of your body that helps stabilize everything else.
If your core is not strong, it’s more challenging to keep everything else strong.
Think about it. Your core is on the opposite side of your back. If one side is weaker than the other, it can cause the other side to struggle more. Increasing your core strength will give your entire body a boost of strength.
Somewhat self-explanatory, this exercise is best done in the deep end while using a flotation device.
Lift both knees at once up to your chest, repeating this for 3 sets of 10 reps. If you want a true workout, keep your legs straight out at the top of the water when you stretch them out.
Becoming sedentary while recovering from an injury or dealing with chronic back pain can seem like the easier option, but it often only worsens the issues.
While traditional physical therapy can be exhausting and cause more strain, doing so within the confines of a pool can do so much for your mind and body.
Staying fit while managing back pain or injuries is a fantastic benefit, but so is muscle strengthening, core stabilization, joint motion increase, and even an increase in motivation.
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