If you are currently suffering from back pain, you are far from alone. As Medline Plus notes, eight out of 10 people have back pain at some point in their life—making back pain one of the most common medical issues in the country. In some cases, back pain manifests itself as a sharp acute pain, and in others as a dull and steady ache. No matter what it feels like or how it came about, back pain is difficult to live with and hard to ignore.
Fortunately, back pain can be relieved by some specific underwater exercises. These can be done in your own pool or at a local gym. The most effective approach, notes Spine Health, involves a combination of exercises done while standing or sitting under water, swimming and strength training, and conditioning using special equipment. By making the back more limber and stronger, it will start to feel better. If you are currently living with back pain, consider giving some or all of the following underwater exercises a try:
1. Knee-to-Chest Exercise
This pool therapy exercise is done when standing in the pool on one slightly bent leg. While holding onto the edge of the pool with one hand, stretch your other leg out in front of you, and bring your knee up to your chest. Then repeat on the other side. This seemingly simple movement will help to stretch and strengthen the muscles in your lower back, hips, and legs.
2. Walk in the Water
Stand in water that is chest-high and start walking forwards and backwards. This exercise will strengthen the legs and back while being extremely low-impact on the hips and knees. As you get used to walking in the water and your muscles get stronger, you can make the workout more challenging by adding in some underwater weights. If you or your gym do not have weights that are designed to be used underwater, look online for products like the AquaJogger fitness belt that will comfortably suspend you in the water, allowing you to run in place in the pool and even make motions like you are cross country skiing.
3. Superman Stretch
To do this effective stretching exercise, channel your inner Superman in the pool, rest your hands on the side, and have your body and legs extended behind you like you are “flying” in the water. This position will naturally stretch your entire back, including all the joints and bones, and will help to loosen up the back and shoulders.
4. Hip Kickers
To relieve back pain, try doing some hip kickers. Stand with the pool wall on one side of your body and either use your hand to hold steady. Move one of your legs forward with the knee straight in a kicking motion. Then repeat the straight leg kick on the other side. Try to do three sets of 10, alternating your kicking leg. Depending on your level of back pain and how fit you are, you can do the kicks slowly and steadily or you can push your leg forward as hard and fast as possible; either way, it should benefit your back.