El Paso Functional Medicine
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Starting Swimming Exercises For Back Health: Wellness Doctor Rx

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Individuals dealing with or managing chronic back pain should incorporate swimming exercises. Swimming is a low-impact aerobic conditioning exercise that’s easy on the back and healthy for the spine. When an individual struggles with back problems, they may be tempted to rest and avoid physical activity/exercise. Total rest is not recommended as it can cause the muscles that support the back to weaken or atrophy. When the muscles weaken, they cannot stabilize the spine or body correctly, which causes conditions to worsen or contribute to new injuries. Starting swimming exercises can expand the spine, relieve painful pressure or strain on the back and strengthen the muscles for spinal health.

Starting Swimming Exercises For Back Health: EP Chiropractic

Starting Swimming Exercises

Swimming does not impact the spine and other musculoskeletal structures because the water suspends the body.

  • Swimming is a full-body, low-impact exercise which is excellent for individuals of all ages and all body shapes and sizes.
  • Talk to a healthcare professional about any questions or concerns about how swimming may impact your body.
  • Swimming benefits include stress relief, a strengthened musculoskeletal system, and support in heart health.

Swimming for Back Problems

Relaxes The Nervous System

  • Tense muscles can cause or contribute to back problems and pain symptoms and aggravate spinal conditions.
  • Swimming exercises release endorphins to relax the nervous system and tense muscles.

Relieves Pressure on Joints

  • The water lightens the body relieving pressure on the joints and muscles.

Builds Muscle to Support the Spine

  • The resistance and movement strengthen the whole body with the joints and spine supported.
  • Swimming engages muscles not always used, specifically those needed to improve spinal stability.

Exercises for Back Relief

Checking with a physician before exercising is recommended, especially if starting a new exercise routine. When you meet with the Injury Medical Chiropractic and Functional Medicine Cline team, we can determine if starting swimming exercises would benefit you. Once cleared, here are some swimming exercises that could help bring relief:

Walking

  • Walking around the pool means movement that the body needs to heal and build muscle without aggravating symptoms.

Aerobics

  • Water aerobics is perfect for working on cardiovascular health needed to build strength.
  • Increase mobility and flexibility.

Swimming Laps

  • Start slow when swimming laps, maybe only twice a week at first.
  • The different types of strokes work various muscles in the hips, chest, and back.
  • Treading water is a great way to get the body used to the movements.
  • A swim coach can provide tips on the proper technique and form.

Swim Exercise Tools and Accessories

Proper swimming equipment can make the exercise sessions much more enjoyable.

Swim Cap

  • Swim caps protect the hair from the water’s elements and keep hair from blocking the view.

Goggles

  • Goggles protect the eyes and help to see better underwater.
  • Look for a comfortable pair that doesn’t leak.

Sun protection and clothing

  • A day in the sun and water increases the risk of exposure to UV rays.

Waterproof Headphones

  • For listening to music or podcasts while swimming.

Kickboard

  • Many pools can provide kickboards that swimmers can borrow during their time there.
  • Lean the upper body on the board and kick, focusing on lower body movements.

Pull Buoy

  • Pull buoys help focus on the upper body and arm work.
  • It is placed between the upper thighs to help the legs float as the individual pulls with their arms.

It is recommended to take some lessons to learn how the body moves through the water. Once a basic understanding of balance and buoyancy is met, individuals can propel through the water more efficiently.


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References

Bartels, Else Marie, et al. “Aquatic exercise for the treatment of knee and hip osteoarthritis.” The Cochrane Database of systematic reviews vol. 3,3 CD005523. 23 Mar. 2016, doi:10.1002/14651858.CD005523.pub3

Cole, A J et al. “Spine pain: aquatic rehabilitation strategies.” Journal of Back and musculoskeletal rehabilitation vol. 4,4 (1994): 273-86. doi:10.3233/BMR-1994-4407

Ferrell, M C. “The spine in swimming.” Clinics in sports medicine vol. 18,2 (1999): 389-93, viii. doi:10.1016/s0278-5919(05)70153-8

Su, Yanlin, et al. “Swimming as Treatment for Osteoporosis: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis.” BioMed research international vol. 2020 6210201. 15 May. 2020, doi:10.1155/2020/6210201

Wirth, Klaus, et al. “Strength Training in Swimming.” International Journal of environmental research and public health vol. 19,9 5369. 28 Apr. 2022, doi:10.3390/ijerph19095369

Post Disclaimer

Professional Scope of Practice *

The information herein on "Starting Swimming Exercises For Back Health: Wellness Doctor Rx" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional or licensed physician and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.

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Our information scope is limited to Chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, contributing etiological viscerosomatic disturbances within clinical presentations, associated somatovisceral reflex clinical dynamics, subluxation complexes, sensitive health issues, and/or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions.

We provide and present clinical collaboration with specialists from various disciplines. Each specialist is governed by their professional scope of practice and their jurisdiction of licensure. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for the injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system.

Our videos, posts, topics, subjects, and insights cover clinical matters, issues, and topics that relate to and directly or indirectly support our clinical scope of practice.*

Our office has reasonably attempted to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We provide copies of supporting research studies available to regulatory boards and the public upon request.

We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation of how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez, DC, or contact us at 915-850-0900.

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Blessings

Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, RN*, CCST, IFMCP*, CIFM*, ATN*

email: coach@elpasofunctionalmedicine.com

Licensed as a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) in Texas & New Mexico*
Texas DC License # TX5807, New Mexico DC License # NM-DC2182

Licensed as a Registered Nurse (RN*) in Florida
Florida License RN License # RN9617241 (Control No. 3558029)
License Compact Status: Multi-State License: Authorized to Practice in 40 States*
Presently Matriculated: ICHS: MSN* FNP (Family Nurse Practitioner Program)

Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, RN* CIFM*, IFMCP*, ATN*, CCST
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