Brain and Spine
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Water Workouts for an Aching Back

Pain makes it difficult to do what you want to do. When your back aches, you may not be able to exercise.

Water workouts for an aching back can be a gentle alternative for those who have pain.

Before you begin a new exercise program, check with your primary care physician.

If you have chronic back pain, your doctor may recommend you see a spinal surgeon. Surgery has helped many people with back pain and problems.

Medications, physical therapy and alternative medicine are options for some people.

Dr. Todd Kuether is a back surgeon in Portland, Oregon. He performs minimally invasive endoscopic surgeries that help patients live without pain.

He has successfully treated spinal stenosis, disc degeneration and other spinal conditions that commonly cause pain.

The Benefits of Exercising in Water

Whether you’ve had surgery or not, exercise can help keep your back stronger.

Some people also find relief from discomfort when they perform regular low-impact activities. Working out in water offers an aerobic workout without the pounding.

If you’re a fan of soaking in a warm tub, you’ve felt the comfort of floating in the water.

When you’re in a pool or tub, you may feel less pressure and pain in your back, hips, knees and feet.

Water’s buoyancy allows some people to move with less pain. They can work on strength, flexibility and cardiovascular fitness with less pressure on the spine and other joints.

When you’re immersed up to the neck, water supports most of your weight. Even waist-deep water offers relief from pressure.

Pool workouts or therapy describe a variety of activities. A doctor or physical therapist may recommend a particular type of exercise.

While water activities are easy on your joints, they can still be vigorous. The resistance of the water makes moving more difficult.

Pace yourself, and don’t do anything that hurts.

Water Workouts for an Aching Back

Swimming is an excellent way to stay in shape, but it’s not your only option. Here are a few more ideas:

Walking: Walking in water is one of the easiest ways to start working out in the pool. You can walk lanes in the shallower sections of a pool.

This is an effective cardiovascular workout that also strengthens lower-body muscles.

Aerobics: Many community centers offer water aerobics classes. Group exercise is often more fun than solo pursuits.

A well-designed class includes a range of movements, including exercises for flexibility, strength and cardiovascular fitness.

Running: Injured runners sometimes take to the deep water to continue training. If you want to try water running, start out by wearing a flotation belt. Move your legs as if running on land. Your feet shouldn’t touch the bottom of the pool.

Zumba: Water Zumba is similar to classes in a studio. Upbeat music and dancing keep your enthusiasm and energy high.