Swimming is considered the 3rd most popular sports activity, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. In Florida, swimming is a year-round activity that can help keep you cool. For those struggling with health conditions, swimming can also be used as part of a therapeutic routine.
Aquatic therapy can include many forms, from racing to paddling to specific exercises using special equipment. If you’re looking for a minimal impact exercise to complete in addition to your chiropractic treatment, aquatic therapy exercises are one of the best options.
There are some general benefits of aquatic therapy, including improvements in your strength, circulation, lung capacity, and flexibility. Aquatic therapy can reduce the impact and stress of exercise while also supporting injured muscles and joints. As water presses on an injured area, it can help reduce swelling and improve motion.
Aquatic Therapy for Back Problems
According to a review of a series of studies on the benefits of aquatic therapy for back pain, swimming was beneficial for patients suffering from chronic low back pain and pregnancy-related back pain. In 2005, a study published in a Brazilian medical journal revealed that swimming could be used in rehabilitation for patients with spinal cord injuries and can help restore some muscle strength and motor skills.
The American College of Sports Medicine also recommends swimming or walking in water as rehabilitation for injuries to the ligaments, muscles, or tendons.
Aquatic Therapy Exercises
Did you know that only 56% of Americans can perform core swimming skills like floating for a full minute or swimming 25 yards? Even if you are not a skilled swimmer, there are several aquatic therapy exercises you can complete. Before you begin any new exercises or therapies, talk with your chiropractor.
Stand on the shallow end of the pool with your back against the pool wall. While standing on your right leg, outstretch your left leg in front while holding onto the side of the pool with one hand for stability. Switch legs and complete the movement again. Repeat 3 sets of 10 repetitions per leg.
In chest-high water, walk forward from one end of the pool to the other. Then, depending on your coordination, walk backward to your original starting point.
Stand against the pool wall. Lift one knee up, as if you are marching in place. When you lift your knee, make sure it is even with your hip – then straighten your knee out away from your body. Continue to bend then straighten your knee up to 10 times, then switch legs and complete the movement 10 more times. Rest. Complete another set of 10 knee lifts per leg.
There are many aquatic therapy exercises you can complete to help relieve back pain while also strengthening your muscles and increasing flexibility and mobility. Ask your doctor for a list of exercises you can complete on your own as part of your rehabilitation.