Swim Lessons Dudley
Swimming and Back Pain
The joys of swimming
2008 Author: BackCare Helpline Volunteers
Swimming is often quoted as being a good exercise to keep your back fit and healthy.
In a recent BackCare survey more than 60% of the people with back pain who had tried swimming reported benefits. BackCare’s Helpline volunteers have collected some useful tips on how you can use swimming to manage back pain.
Swimming is one of the best exercises for bad backs and a great way of helping yourself. These are just some of the benefits.
- To improve cardiovascular ability
- To improve muscle tone
- To help in the rehabilitation of injuries
- To work on overall core stability
- To strengthen back muscles
Liz Holden is a chronic back pain sufferer and has been for the past 12 years. She has found modified swimming to be her salvation. Not only for the exercise, but also for general well being. Liz says:
“It helps with my chronic pain and I do all my best thinking in the pool! I can be found most mornings at 7 am in the pool at my local health club, I find it gets the blood circulating in the morning and helps to get rid of all the stiffness. As with any exercise I start by a warm up in the sauna or by some stretches in the pool and of course I warm down after my swim in the same way. I do a modified breaststroke, depending on how my pain is on that particular day.
Breaststroke can put a strain on your neck so I change my arm movements and make sure that I do not use jerky movements. I’m careful not to overdo the kick out ‘frog movement’ that can put a strain on the back and increase leg pain. I find a swimming noodle or waddle very useful. I alternate my swimming by one length breaststroke and one length
backstroke. For backstroke, I use the noodle/waddle as support for my neck and cross over at the front, so I don’t use my arms, which I find increases pain and I just kick my legs in front. If my pain is very bad I use the noodle/waddle as support on my back and front and just float, the floating helps with the pain as the body is weightless”.
Tony is lucky enough to live by the sea, he says: “All my swimming has been done in the sea. I had a few disasters trying to do the crawl when I was in my thirties and soon found by experience that floating on my back and/or doing the backstroke posed no problems. Even in my sixties I found swimming on my back a great thing to do but started to restrict the time spent in the water to half an hour.”
- Always ensure strokes are executed properly; movements should not be jerky.
- Keep body level and well supported by pulling the abdominal muscle in and up.
- When taking breaths, especially with the front crawl, try not to twist your head to the side and instead roll the whole body, if necessary use a breathing aid such as a snorkel to reduce the chance of twisting the neck andshoulders.
- Use a floatation device to help keep the body straight and allow for non-twis...