Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Swim for Back Pain Relief: How Swimming Helps Your Back

Improve range of motion, cushion stiff joints or fragile bones and alleviate stiffness and pain with a few laps across a pool. The body only bears 50 percent of its weight when immersed in water to the waist, 25 to 35 percent when immersed to the chest and just 10 percent when immersed to the neck, according to exercise physiologist Robert A. Robergs. Swimming may be the ultimate low-impact activity for easing back pain with minimal stress on the joints. Swimming and aquatic exercises also strengthen the back and core muscles.

Water Walking

Water walking takes pressure off your muscles, joints and bones as a low-impact activity. Even in a fairly large above ground pool like those from In The Swim or simply the pool at a local YMCA or fitness club that has water deep enough to reach your waist, walk back and forth across the pool swinging your arms in the same manner as you would on land. Keep your back straight, tighten your abdominal muscles and avoid walking on your tip toes. Wear web hands or other pool devices to increase resistance.

Pull Freestyle

Rotating your body in a freestyle pull can result in reduced back pain. Pulling freestyle means to swim with your legs trailing behind. Keep the body high in the water with the help of a pull buoy. Concentrate on keeping your head steady, your body elongated and the muscles in your back stretched.


Swimmers of all skill levels use the breaststroke because of its simplicity and it is one of the swimming strokes that is very easy on the spine. Control the swimming pace for a low-impact or more intense workout. During the breaststroke, the swimmer remains above the surface of the water, arms extended straight in front and the legs in the back. Push your arms apart to create a diagonal with your body. Face your palms outward and keep the elbows straight. Pull your elbows into the sides of the body, and bring your hands together in front of your chest. Lift your head, neck and upper chest out of the water while bending your knees and bringing your feet toward your torso. Gently glide across the surface of the water.


The butterfly stroke targets your chest, shoulders and back. It builds powerful upper body and abdominal strength, but is not the stroke most advisable for those with severe back ailments.

Swimming Frequency

Swimming should begin gradually. Practice twice a week at first and progress to four to six times a week as your body adapts to the techniques. In a study performed by the Department of Surgery at Kyoritsu Hospital in Kitakyusya, Japan, 35 people with lower back pain were enrolled in an aquatic exercise program. Nearly all the patients showed low-back pain improvements after six months, but the patients who participated a minimum of twice a week showed significant improvements over those who swam just once a week.


  1. My compliments to the chef. Excellent article. I agree. Perhaps a more understated aspect of health and wellness is the maintenance of proper spinal alignment. It reduces most chronic back pain and can make anyone look and feel youunger. You should find some info or post an article about this next time. Just a thought. Thanks for your time! scoliosis exercises

  2. Many thanks for the exciting blog posting! I really enjoyed reading it

  3. Yes swimming can be a very helpful exercise for back pain sufferers. Athletes commonly become injured, and swimming is a great way to keep active since it usually does not put excess strain on a swimmer's back. However, that's not to say that swimming can't cause back pain or injuries as well. Total Wellness Brandon

  4. Great post! I have definitely noticed a decrease in pain since I started swimming. Keep up the great work here!

  5. Much descriptive post!!!!
    Swimming is really helpful; I also got relief after regular swimming. Beside this I also prefer to go for chiropractic treatment.

  6. Thanks so much for this post! I love reading your blog, please keep up with great work here!

  7. Very interesting post. It seems more and more that just moving and patient education about pain is showing to be an effective treatment for LBP.

  8. I really enjoy reading and also appreciate your work.


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