Aquatic Therapy: Soothe your Back Pain

January, 2014

Aquatic Therapy: Soothe your Back Pain

Do you have a nagging back injury? Your solution may be as close as the nearby swimming pool. Water immersion and exercise have been used to treat back pain around the world for centuries. Its use has been recorded historically at least as far back as Greek and Roman times; Hippocrates used warm water soaking to treat his patients with painful conditions. Research has shown that some of the benefits of aquatic therapy include improved sleep, independence with personal care, work capacity, and relaxation as well as decreased pain. Following are some answers to common questions about this very beneficial form of treatment.

” What makes exercising in the water different than on land?

On land our bodies are subject to the compressing force of gravity. In the pool our bodies are supported by buoyancy, we’re basically weightless. Water decreases the amount of weight coming down on our spine, hips, knees and ankles and therefore increases comfort at these joints. Standing in the water we can also take advantage of the surrounding resistance in all directions to work the body’s muscles with every movement.

” How does aquatic therapy specifically benefit someone with back pain?

People who suffer with back pain frequently fall into a vicious cycle of compression on the spinal nerves and tightening of the surrounding muscles. Not only does this cause pain when simply sitting and standing but it can prevent a person from participating in their regular exercise routine. In the pool, people experience less compression on the nerves and their muscles can relax. Being in water allows a person to exercise without increasing pain, and can often be a first step in getting back to normal pain-free activity

” How is aquatic therapy different from swimming?

Swimming is wonderful exercise and benefits the body in many ways. However, swimming is usually for cardiovascular conditioning, mainly benefitting the heart and lungs. Swimming is generally about efficiency and speed. This may not be optimal for spinal therapy, as resistance is used to increase the strengthening or flexibility benefits. The upright position of water exercise

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