Swimming is perhaps one of the best choices for people looking for exercise as a relief from chronic back pain. Pools are often easy to access in most communities, and the barrier to entry is low. Meanwhile, the water delivers built-in resistance to challenge the body without being too taxing. What is essential to understand about using swimming to combat back pain? Here are a few pointers to begin the journey.
Start by consulting your physician before swimming.
Before beginning any new regimen of exercise, it’s important to consult with your doctor. Your physician understands better than anyone both the needs and the limitations of your body. Seeking clearance and guidance before you start a new exercise effort can help to ensure you are healthy enough for the level of physical activity you intend to pursue. You may also be able to acquire a recommendation for a physical therapist who can aid you in developing a swimming plan to target your particular type of pain. With medical clearance, it’s time to get in the water.
Practice simple swimming strokes or tasks.
The goal here is not to become an Olympic-class swimmer, but to develop the skills necessary for strengthening your body and reducing pain. There’s no reason to plan to swim twenty laps a day. Instead, find the stroke that is both comfortable and effective for you. For beginners, this often means the breaststroke. However, the backstroke is also effective at pain management. If you aren’t sure about your swimming form, ask for help from a more experienced swimmer or an instructor. Strength training in the water, which may include merely walking from one side of the pool to the other, can also yield results and allow you to build towards more strengthening exercises.
Develop a dependable swimming routine.
Based on research conducted in Japan, swimming yields more robust results regarding pain management when individuals got in the pool two or more times every week. However, any effort put forth in the pool can help deliver relief from the pain your experience. While you may not notice results right away, such as within the first days or even the first week or two, your efforts build up over time. Use that as a motivating factor to keep getting in the water. Make it fun, too! There are plenty of aquatic exercise opportunities that can work effectively in this context. Listen to what your body and your doctor tell you, and you can unlock some of the benefits of swimming.