Swimming and Back Pain
Swimming is considered a beneficial activity in alleviating pain. In addition, whenever athletes experience an injury, swimming can be one way to keep active while avoiding undue stress on the swimmer’s back.
However, there are instances when swimming can also result in back pain and back injuries.
Specific swimming strokes can cause back problems and lower back injuries. To avoid these incidences, recognizing the following factors while performing particular strokes may help:
1.) Rotating the head too far up while doing the freestyle can result in neck and back injuries. Swimmers typically roll their heads upwards to the right to breathe out of the water on the upstroke of the right arm. It is advisable to rotate the head upwards only within the axis of the body and keep the charge down the rest of the time when not going up for air.
2.) If not conditioned properly, the anterior neck muscles become subject to stress while doing the backstroke. Therefore, this stroke must be performed gradually to avoid excessive muscle strain.
3.) Flip-turning can harm the neck and back muscles if the head is overextended from the body and not tucked in.
4.) While doing the breaststroke, the head and neck are held still, with only a minimal head raise to take in air.
There are several means of alleviating pain symptoms in a problematic back. Some conservative approaches to relief include stretching, applying ice, and taking over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen. Other forms of treatment may involve sessions with a chiropractor or physical therapist with more severe pain.
A chiropractor can manipulate the affected area to relieve symptoms for most sufferers. At the same time, a physical therapist can develop a specific program of drills and exercises that can strengthen muscles, enhance flexibility, and decrease pain. In addition, wearing a back brace may limit painful movement while giving the injured muscle a chance to recover.
Constant back pain signals the need to cease all swimming activities and consult a doctor for an appropriate diagnosis. Continuing to swim despite the pain is a detriment to healing and will only make the condition worse. The resulting severe pain may even require surgery to correct any back irregularities.
Surgery is only undertaken in the sporadic instances of severe symptomatic conditions; however, there are cases when not even surgery can undo grave back ailments.
In general, swimming is a beneficial activity that may alleviate back pain symptoms.