Water Therapy Benefits For Spinal Stenosis And Disc Issues
Category: Spine | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: January 9, 2017
If you’ve been to the community pool or your local YMCA in recent years, odds are you’ve seen an instructor leading a group of people in some water therapy exercises at one point or another. Water therapy is beneficial for a number of different people, including pregnant women, athletes who are recovering from surgery, and of course individuals with chronic back pain from spinal stenosis or disc problems. Below, we explain why aqua therapy is beneficial for individuals with back pain, and what types of exercises you should consider if you want to try aqua therapy for yourself.
Benefits Of Aqua Therapy
Your spine can benefit from aqua therapy for a number of different reasons:
- Increased Range of Motion – The buoyancy of water allows individuals to stretch and move beyond a range of motion achievable outside of the water.
- No Gravity – If your spine is injured, the weight of your body stresses the structure with each step. In the water, the pressure of gravity is negated, putting less stress on your spine.
- Natural Resistance – When you twist your trunk outside the water, there is no resistance to the movement. However, when performed in a pool, the water acts as a natural resistant which aids in muscle strengthening.
Spinal Activities To Consider
If you have back pain or are recovering from surgery (assuming you have permission from your doctor) and you want to try aqua therapy, here are some tips to keep in mind and activities to try. Ideally you can find a pool that has a warm but not hot temperature. Warm water has numerous benefits for individuals dealing with back pain. For starters, warm water helps to dilate the blood vessels in the back, which allows for increased blood flow to spinal structures. Warm water also helps to relax tense muscles and increase your joint flexibility and your mobility, all of which will help you keep your spine pain at bay.
Here are some easy exercises to perform the next time you’re in a pool if you’re dealing with back pain from sciatica or disc problems:
- Walk from one side to the other – Walking at a moderate pace while moving your arms and legs in a synchronized pattern can help you strengthen spinal muscles, build core strength and improve your balance.
- Leg raises – While standing, slowly kick one leg out in front of you and bend at the knee while pushing your leg upwards. Once raised, hold it there for a few seconds before bringing back down and switching legs. This can help free compressed nerves in the lower spine and hips.
- Backwards leg kicks – While holding and facing a wall, slowly raise one leg behind you while keeping the other foot on the ground. Hold it there for a few seconds and then switch feet. This will help decompress your lower spine and increase mobility in your lower back and hips.
If you’re experiencing back pain, try out some of these exercises in your community pool. If you’ve undergone a recent surgery, ask your doctor if aqua therapy would be beneficial for you, and when it’s safe to enter a pool after an operation.