When you have unrelenting back pain and want to use exercises to alleviate it, jump into the pool. Back pain–the primary cause of disability for people under 45 in the United States–sends approximately 13 million people to the doctor each year, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC). Fortunately, most back pain is preventable,says the UMMC. Keeping your back muscles strong through aquatic exercises can reduce your back pain while preventing further damage.
Walking in water reduces the stress put on your joints because water provides buoyancy. According to the U.S. Water Fitness Association (USWFA), when you submerge to your neck in water, 90 percent of your body becomes buoyant. This means you will reduce the jar of impact that can inflame back pain. Walking in deep water requires a flotation belt to keep you upright. To perform the exercise, walk as you normally would. Focus on keeping correct posture by using your core muscles to avoid back strain. Mix up the routine once you have accustomed your body to the exercise. Lift your legs higher, pump your arms, or walk sideways and backward. As with regular walking, increasing the speed and intensity of your movements in intervals improves the workout.
Yoga in the water goes by several names, such as “yoga afloat” and “yoqua.” Water yoga benefits the body in a similar fashion to regular yoga. It increases range of motion, improves flexibility, promotes deep breathing and increases coordination. Performing yoga in the water also has a bonus. Warm water relaxes your muscles, aids healing and improves your circulation, according to the Aquatic Therapy Associates website. These benefits make water yoga an ideal exercise for your back pain–and for your stress level. Because the movements and poses require some knowledge to avoid any injury and some special tools, you should seek out a class or teacher for water yoga.
Pilates exercises strengthen the core muscles and the back while improving flexibility. Strengthening these muscles groups helps alleviate back pain and improve joint mobility. Joseph Pilates developed the exercises in the 1920s to strengthen without increasing muscle bulk. Performing Pilates in the water provides natural resistance, along with the benefits of buoyancy and muscular relaxation. Water exercises give you 12 to 14 times the resistance as land exercises, according to USWFA. This resistance improves the fluidity of your movements, making them slow and precise as needed for Pilates. As with water yoga, an instructor will help you learn the proper movements until you achieve a comfort level in doing them.