Swimming is often a good choice of exercise for people with sore backs because it is low impact and puts little pressure on the spine. However, swimming with incorrect form can cause you to twist or jerk your back or neck, which can worsen your pain. To swim safely with a sore or injured back, pay attention to how your body feels as you exercise. If the stroke you are doing hurts, adjust your form, switch strokes or exit the pool.
Keep your spine in alignment while you swim. Support your back by tightening your abdominals, and relax your neck to keep it in line with the rest of your spine. Use a flotation device if necessary to maintain a straight back.
Swim for short periods initially. Increase the duration of your workouts as your back heals and your muscles develop.
Use the backstroke or side strokes more than the front crawl or breast stroke. You don’t have to turn your head to breathe in these positions, and you can keep your head in line with your spine more easily.
Wear goggles to protect your eyes. You’ll be less likely to jerk your head suddenly to try to keep your eyes clear of water.
Breathe through a snorkel when you swim on your front. This lets you avoid turning your head, which can twist or stress your spine and back. If you do have to turn to breathe, turn your whole body instead of just your neck.
Change strokes regularly to avoid putting too much pressure on any one muscle group. If anything you do hurts your back, stop immediately.
Tips and Warnings
- Talk to your doctor or physical therapist before swimming with back pain.
- Exit the pool if your swimming increases your back pain.
Things You’ll Need
- Flotation device (optional)
Source: www.livestrong.com; Stephanie Mitchell; September 7, 2011.