Regular exercise can help treat back pain, though people who suffer from back pain should choose low-impact exercises that don't increase stress on the spinal vertebrae or other joints. Water is a great way to get exercise without putting stress on the back. Studies have shown that exercises in the water that strengthen the leg, abdominal, and gluteal muscles or that stretch the hip, back, and leg muscles help with back pain. Water walking and swimming can also be beneficial. Water has a buoyancy effect, which puts less stress on the back and joints. The friction of the water allows for gentle resistance through movements, which can help in strengthening the muscles around the joints and back. Always ask your doctor before starting an exercise routine, especially if you're worried about making your back pain worse.
Employing Water Walking
1. Use water shoes. If you have balance issues, using water shoes can help. You can find them at most large shoe stores or sporting good stores.
2. Walk across the pool. Start in the shallow end. It doesn't matter how shallow the shallow end is. Just start on that end and work your way to slightly deeper water, going to about mid-chest. Water walking is just as it sounds. You spend time walking back and forth across the pool, just as you do on land.
3. Pay attention to your stride. It should be long as you go across the pool. Also, make sure you aren't walking on your tiptoes. Also, make sure you are swinging your arms like you're not in water.
4. Keep your back straight. You want to have straight posture as you do this movement. In addition, keep your core muscles tight so you don't lean to one side or forward.
5. Add weights or other equipment. If you find the workout too easy, you can add equipment to make it a bit harder. For instance, you can use webs on your hands to add resistance as you move through the water.
6. Change it up. You can also move backwards across the pool, being sure to watch out for other people. Another option is side-stepping.
Using Stationary Exercises
1. Try a knee-to-chest exercise. You'll need to be at the side of the pool for this exercise. Grab hold of the wall with your right hand to keep your balance.
2. Work on your hip muscles. Face the wall of the pool and hold on. With your back straight, lift up your right leg out to the side. Bring it back down.
3. Try a wall facing "Superman" exercise. Stand facing the pool with hands resting on the ledge of the pool. Slowly extend your body back, with your legs straight. Your body should look like Superman flying.
4. Try one legged balance exercises. Balance, or "proprioception," is an important part of a healthy back. Try standing on one leg while standing in the pool.
5. Bicycle your way to stronger abs. Bicycling in the pool can strengthen your abs, which in turn can help lower back pain.
6. Try a double leg lift. Lean against the wall again. Have your elbows on the side of the pool to support you.
7. Squat underwater. Go to the shallow end of the pool. Place your feet at about hip-width.
8. Try pull-ups. At the wall, grasp the edge. Use your arms to push yourself down in the water, while making sure your legs are bent.
9. Do half-suspended jumping jacks. Get in the shallow end, and stand with legs together. Start by doing a normal jumping jack, just like you would on land. Kick your legs apart, going outward to the side. As you do, raise your arms above your head.
10. Do some knee-tucks. These exercises work your abs through water resistance. Basically, you stand still in chest-deep water. Then you bring your knees up to your chest, moving them together.
Using Moving Exercises
1. Try lunges. Lunges in the water work much like they do on land. Work in the shallow end, and give yourself enough room to move forward.
2. Kick your way across the pool. Grab a kickboard to use for floating. You can also use a water noodle.
3. Swim laps. Of course, you can turn to the old standby of swimming laps, which works your whole body at once and helps with back pain. You can swim the breaststroke, backstroke, the crawl, or even the butterfly, whatever you prefer.