When the weather starts to warm up, consider incorporating swimming into your exercise routine. Unlike many forms of aerobic exercises, swimming is easy on the joints and spine since there is practically no impact on spinal structures. Water resistance allows for increased range of motion while strengthening weak back and neck muscles.
Although therapeutic, this aquatic exercise can also cause back pain. Likely causes are hyperextension, or over stretching, of the back and jerking motions in the neck during certain strokes. To prevent further injury, practice proper form and technique.
Freestyle (Front Crawl): Keep your body lying flat in the water and hold lower abdominal muscles up and in, and keep your head straight rather than lifted. When taking a breath, slightly roll your body along with your head to reduce neck strain. Inexperienced swimmers or those with severe back pain should consider using a snorkel or breathing device.
Breaststroke: A wider stroke helps strengthen back muscles and reduce pain. Make sure to gently raise the head and neck during breaths.
Backstroke: Start slowly and gradually increase the length of distance to avoid neck muscle fatigue associated with the backstroke.
Remember to properly stretch beforehand and avoid overdoing your workout. Using Exercise and Therapy Foam Rollers can help massage sore muscles and enhance flexibility and strength before and after your workouts. Be sure to speak with your doctor before starting a new exercise to determine if swimming is right for you.