swimming low back pain

Swimming for Back Pain: Rehab at Home

Maybe your back feels stiff if you have been sitting too long. Or, you struggle to get moving in the morning after a night’s sleep. Whether it just feels tight or you have low back pain, you are not alone. About 25 percent of adults report having low back pain in the past three months. The pain, though, can be more than a nuisance. It can be especially frustrating and prevent you from living life to your fullest. 

But the options for relieving low back pain might feel just as frustrating. Physical therapy, surgery, and prescription drugs are among the medical interventions. Friendly suggestions from loved ones might include “keep moving.” How do you keep moving, though, when moving causes more pain.

Swimming and other forms of aquatic exercise can help you move without adding additional stress. Water’s natural buoyancy removes stress on the joints, and you can enjoy increased range of motion as you move. You can strengthen the muscles of the back and core to improve your pain levels while reducing the risk of injury.

Getting in the water on a regular basis can help you feel better — physically and mentally. But you don’t want to have to schedule a lane or look up pool hours. With a Michael Phelps Signature Swim Spa by Master Spas, you can swim and exercise at your convenience, year-round, while enjoying the added benefits of warm water and massage therapy.

swimming low back pain
Enjoy the benefits of swimming and water exercise without leaving home. With a Michael Phelps Signature Swim Spa, you can swim against the endless current of the spa.

Swimming for Low Back Pain

When you struggle with low back pain, it’s important to keep the spine supported and strengthen the posterior and core muscles. 

How do you do this effectively, though, when land-based exercises put pressure on the spine? 

Swimming is often a beneficial exercise for those with low back pain. It allows people with back pain to utilize the buoyancy of water, enabling these patients to exercise the muscles around the spine more effectively.

One clinical trial showed that more than 90 percent of patients saw improvement of low back pain with regular swimming and water exercise. The researchers studied 35 patients for at least six months, and each performed the exercises at least once a week. 

“The results obtained suggested that exercises in water may be one of the most useful modes of exercise for a patient with low-back pain,” wrote the researchers.

In addition to the cardio and strength benefits, swimming is also a low-impact exercise. Movements like running, walking, and group fitness classes can be jarring to the spine. With swimming, the water supports most of your weight while relieving pressure on the spine. 

Even those who are not avid swimmers can enjoy the benefits of swimming for low back pain. 

A Michael Phelps Signature Swim Spa uses a propulsion system to create a current of water so that you can swim in place. The system has speed settings from zero to 100, allowing you to start at a gentle speed and increase the challenge as you see improvements. 

water therapy
Walking in a swim spa can help you improve fitness without adding pressure to your back.

Swim Spa Workouts

Water exercise can be an effective way to treat pain along the back and neck. People often find the water to be soothing and welcoming. More than that, water’s natural properties supports the body while helping to strengthen it. 

According to a study published in the Journal of Exercise Rehabilitation, two hour-long water exercise sessions can reduce pain intensity, and improve personal care, sitting, standing, and sleeping.

While a Micahel Phelps swim spa offers a continuous swimming experience, you can also use the pool alternative for aquatic therapy. The generous swim area allows for water walking, stretching, and resistance training. Plus, you can also adjust the water temperature to the therapeutic range (in the low 90s). 

By increasing strength and stabilizing the core during water exercise, your body will be better able to support itself and less prone to back pain.

These exercises can be combined for an effective water workout, ideal for helping improve back pain.

water exercise
Push/Pulls with Kickboard

5 Lower-Back Water Exercises for the Swim Spa

Walking Forward. When you perform this exercise, keep your core engaged and glute muscles tight. Move your arms and be sure to keep good stride length. 

Side Stepping with Semi Squats. With this exercise, imagine yourself sitting in a chair as you step to the side. Raise your arms out to the side as you step. When you return to start, you should stand tall with your arms at your side. 

Butt Kick Walk. Keep your engaged and glutes tight as you perform this water exercise. Bring your heel toward your butt and try to reach back and touch your heel. Be careful not to arch your lower back.

Push/Pulls with Kickboard. With an upright posture, use a kickboard to push and pull through the water. Be sure to keep the kickboard halfway underwater, and your shoulders should be down and back. Alternate the forward leg as you do this exercise.

Alternating Arm Flies. Stand with a staggered stance (one leg back) when doing this exercise. With an upright posture and your arms extended in front of you, open and close the arms one at a time. Be careful not to rotate the body or bring your shoulders to your ears. Alternate the forward leg. As you get stronger, you can incorporate the H2Xercise dumbbells, which are included with your swim spa.

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