If you have back or neck pain and haven’t thought about getting into the pool this season, it’s time to grab your towel and SPF and head to the local swimming hole. Many of our patients with back or neck pain have difficulty doing traditional exercises, such as running and weightlifting. It can be frustrating to deal with the pain associated with the constant high impact and hard wear-and-tear that these exercises cause. A great alternative is aqua-therapy or water aerobics. Whether you have arthritis in your neck, back, hips, or knees, being in the water can ease gravitational pull, thus taking the pressure off of your joints, discs, and bones.
Swimming is one way to remove a portion of the pain generation during exercise that many of our patients deal with. Before doing a flip off the diving board, many have some preconceived notions about swimming and what it means for back and neck pain. Some of the motions and positions of certain swimming styles can aggravate pain. Activities such as the breast stroke and the butterfly might place your spine into extension, which may increase your pain. You should always start with easier exercises and then gradually progress to tougher exercises. Start in a shallow end, and try doing walking and running motions across the pool. If you want to try a certain technique of swimming that may increase resistance, many sports physiotherapists recommend the backstroke, because it can help you avoid some of the over-extension positions found in other swimming strokes. If there is aqua-therapy near you, remember it is always preferable to have a specialist get you started. Being in the water is a fun way to change up your routine, become more active, and ultimately, reduce your pain.
Give aqua-therapy a try this summer. While physical therapy for back pain focuses on strengthening your core musculature, a great way to continue strengthening while relieving some pain is to work out in water since your buoyancy reduces the strain on your muscles. Get in control of your pain this summer. If you have neck or back pain, come see us at Prairie Spine & Pain Institute.
About The Author: Derek N. Morrow, PA-C is a physician assistant with Prairie Spine and Pain Institute. Derek works in the clinic setting as a health care provider seeing patients. He is also utilized in the operating room as a first assist in surgery. In the clinic setting, his key function is to diagnose new patients and conduct their initial treatment. He works directly with patients to establish customized treatment programs and to monitor their progress. He also conducts history and physical evaluations for many patients. He performs many office procedures including trigger point injections, large joint injections, and bursa injections, all with the help of ultrasound guidance. He is radiologically trained, and uses his knowledge of X-ray, Ultrasound, MRI, CT, and EMG-Nerve Conduction Studies to establish a diagnosis and determine the appropriate treatment. Derek is surgically trained and plays a vital role in the procedures we perform at Prairie Spine and Pain Institute.