Water therapy, also known as hydrotherapy or aquatic therapy, consists of a series of exercises or movements which are performed in a body of water. It is very effective at strengthening the muscles in the lower back, which can alleviate back pain and reduce the risk of further injury.
In this guide, our Ealing chiropractor shares some more detail on water therapy and water therapy exercises which may be beneficial for lower back pain.
What Is Water Therapy?
It is a versatile and low-impact form of therapy that is ideal for people who have any condition that makes exercising on land painful. It is particularly useful for anyone who has:
- So much pain that they cannot perform convention exercises
- A disability
- Muscle strains or tears
- A degenerative condition like osteoarthritis or osteoporosis, which has weakened their bones or connective tissues
- A chronic health condition which affects their general health, like heart disease or diabetes
There are a few reasons why exercising in water is so beneficial for patients with back pain:
The main benefit of water therapy is that the buoyancy provided by water reduces the pressure placed on your joints. This means you can move about and exercise without an excessive amount of load being placed on your spine, causing back pain.
- Hydrostatic pressure
Hydrostatic pressure is the force exerted on the immersed body by fluid molecules. This is a technical way of describing how being in water places additional weight on the body. Hydrostatic pressure is one of the reasons why exercising in water improves cardiovascular function and muscular strength so effectively.
- Water viscosity
When you move your limbs in water, there will be a certain amount of resistance caused by friction. This resistance is what makes water therapy a brilliant way to strengthen muscles.
Most people find being in water to be a very relaxing and soothing experience. This can reduce the perception of pain and relax muscles in the back.
Can Anyone Use Water Therapy?
Although water therapy is considered very safe, it’s best to perform these exercises with supervision if you are very unwell. Additional care should be taken if you suffer from osteoporosis, are disabled, or have heart disease. If you haven’t exercised for a long time or have other major health problems, talk to your doctor before commencing any new exercise program.
Water Therapy Exercises
Here are a few basic water therapy exercises which can improve the strength and flexibility of the spine.
The simple exercise will strengthen the muscles in the legs and lower back without placing significant stress on the knees, ankles or hips. Simply stand in chest high water and walk laps. The intensity of this exercise can be increased by holding light weights in the hands.
Knee to chest exercise
Stand with one hand on the side of the pool. Balance on one leg, then bend the other leg and bring your knee towards your chest. Perform 5-10 times per leg. This stretch strengthens the legs, hips, and lower back.
Leg raise exercise
Stand with one hand on the side of the pool. Balance on one leg and elevate the other leg slightly in front of the body. Perform 5-10 times per leg. This stretch strengthens the legs, hips, and lower back.
Forward and side lunges
Stand near a pool wall for support. Take a large step forward, without letting your knee move in front of your toes. Brig the other leg forward to return to starting position. Repeat on the other side. For a side lunge, stand facing the pool wall and take a sidewards step with one leg, then return to standing position. Repeat on the other side. Perform 3 sets of 10 lunges each. You can also walk along the pool wall using lunges.
Deep water bicycle
Stand in the deep end of the pool. Place 1 or 2 pool noodles under your back and loop them around in front of your body for your arms to rest on. Move your legs as if you are on a bicycle. Perform for 3 to 5 minutes.
This great video shares several other exercises which can reduce lower back pain.
Combining Water Therapy With Chiropractic Care
Visiting a chiropractor can help you make the most of water therapy. They can perform a physical examination to diagnose any muscular deficiencies or postural issues which are contributing to your back pain.
Then, they can share several physical therapy strategies which target the underlying issues they have identified. This will help you develop a workout routine which reduces your pain levels and strengthens your back.
Visiting Our Chiropractic Clinic In Ealing
If you are suffering back pain or discomfort, our Ealing chiropractors are here to help you. To book an appointment with one of our team, call us on 020 8900 9004.