Swimming is often recommended for patients suffering from lower back pain. The benefits over a land based fitness programme are obvious: the non-impact, weightless environment removes pressure from joints allowing associated structures to relax and compression on the nerves is reduced. Swimming also helps increase blood circulation, thereby increasing nutrient and oxygen supply to areas of damage, aiding the healing process.
However, before you grab those shorts or costume you need to be aware that swimming with poor technique can exacerbate existing back problems. Muscles in the lower back area can become hyper extended due to poor posture whilst swimming. Particularly common is swimming breaststroke with the head held high up out of the water putting sustained pressure on the lower back. Front crawl is an ideal stroke to master for those looking to prevent undue stress on the lower back.
It is essential, however, that the stroke is technically correct so that the movement through the water is smooth. Unnatural awkward movements in the water can easily damage tissue through the back. Top tips for mastering front crawl are:
We hope you will enjoy your swimming!
- Think straight lines. As you swim you should imagine that a view from the side (underwater) would show your body position parallel to the water surface; this is achieved by ensuring the face is submerged with the water, the abdominal muscles pulled in and up, and the glute muscles engaged. You should also imagine that a birds eye view of you swimming would show a straight line in the water - i.e. no lateral deviation or snaking.|
- Roll with it. As you breathe to the side you must ensure this is timed with the roll of the body. Lifting the head or excessive twisting will at best slow you down, and at worst cause damage to cervical vertebrae. Be sure to rotate the head only within the axis of the body keeping the head down as much as possible.
- Work towards bi-lateral breathing (alternating the sides to which you take a breath). This helps to ensure you have a balanced front crawl stroke.
- Equip yourself. Goggles are an essential tool but equally short training fins are extremely useful for mastering the correct body position in the water. In more severe cases of back pain using a training snorkel can help reduce the awkward movement of the neck when taking breaths.
If you are suffering from back pain please get in touch with our physiotherapy clinic in Manchester. Click on Physio to find out more.
My treatment will give you relief from neck pain. Massage treatments will allow you to move freely and without pain. A series of massage treatments will give you greater flexibility and relieve built up stress. After just a few of my massage treatments you'll be feeling more flexible and free again.
Massage has been shown to:
Current research is beginning to validate what most clients already know about massage therapy: it can help ease or prevent many common ailments that are often treated with prescription drugs and/or hospitalisation. Massage therapy is based on the ability of the body to naturally heal itself.
- Decrease stress
- Increase circulation
- Release muscle tightness
- Improve joint range of motion and flexibility
- Release endorphins
- Diminish aches and pains
- Reduce anxiety and depression associated with anorexia, bulimia, post traumatic stress disorder, and chronic fatigue syndrome
ATTENTION ALL RUNNERS:
For all those in training for the London Marathon, re-starting triathlon training, Manchester 10k and anyone just running for fun. Make sure you resolve any of your niggles and injuries with a visit to City Physio. We specialize in diagnosis of running related injuries and will aim to keep you running whilst correcting the cause of your problems.
As a client of City Physio you will receive a 10% discount on your running shoes at "Sweatshop" in the Arndale Manchester. Video gait analysis is available at no extra cost.
) and City Physio frequently liaise on the run up to major running events. Patrons of both businesses can enjoy mutual 10% discounts at each others store/clinics. Speak to a member of the Physio team for details.