Swimming is considered a beneficial
activity in alleviating pain. 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.
Back problems and lower back injuries can be caused by certain
swimming strokes. To avoid these incidences, recognizing the
following factors while performing particular strokes may
1.) Rotating the head too
far up while doing the freestyle can result in neck and back
injuries. Swimmers normally roll their heads upwards to the
right to breathe out of the water on the upstroke of the right
arm. It is advisable rotate the head upwards only within the
axis of the body, and keeping the head 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. This stroke is one that has to be performed
gradually to avoid excessive muscle strain.
3.) Flip-turning can have
an adverse effect on 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 is 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. With more severe pain, other forms of treatment
may involve sessions with a chiropractor or physical therapist.
A chiropractor can manipulate
the affected area to relieve symptoms for most sufferers,
while a physical therapist can develop a specific program
of drills and exercises that can strengthen muscles, enhance
flexibility, and decrease pain. Wearing a back brace may limit
painful movement while giving the injured muscle a chance
Constant back pain signals the need to cease all swimming
activities 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 very rare instances of serious
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
symptoms of back pain.
It is not unduly stressful
nor does it involve motions that weigh heavily on the back.
In fact, it is a preferable exercise option for people who
want to avoid neck or back strain, or aggravate any symptoms
of other ailments they may have. It is advised, however, to
take lessons in the proper safety measures and swimming techniques
to refrain from repetitive or awkward movements that may lead
to back injury.