If you are recovering from a slipped disc, you are probably spending a lot of time in bed resting.

Slipped disc

The bad news is that excessive bed rest weakens your muscles as well as stiffens your joints.

Swimming is the best low-intensity aerobic exercise to rely on if you are becoming stiff from lying in bed and can’t manage to sit up or walk. It is also a great way to ameliorate pain.

Swimming helps to overcome back pain from a herniated disc. Since it is not weight bearing, it puts less stress on the spinal column. It also strengthens the muscles that support the back and neck.

A few tips that you should keep in mind when swimming while recovering from a slipped disc:

  • Start slow:

    Swimming is non-jarring and the buoyancy of the water takes away substantial stress from painful spinal joints.

a woman in the pool

The key is to start slow. Swim for 10 minutes on the first day and gradually increase that time every day.

  • Backstroke:

    Swimming technique and the choice of stroke can further alleviate some of the pressure. Backstroke is best for slip disc issues as you lay in water in the supine position.

    backstroke for slipped disc

    The water takes most of the pressure by supporting your back.

  • Deep breathing:

    Breathe using your diaphragm to further reduce stress and release pain.

  • Warm pool:

    Swimming in a warm pool helps increase the blood flow to the spinal column and helps in the healing process.

  • Water aerobic classes:

    Sign up for a gentle water aerobics class once the recovery is well underway.

    Image result for water exercises

    Apart from relieving stress, it is a fun way to socialise, get a workout and strengthen the back and core muscles.

Now that we have established that swimming is a great way to overcome pain while recovering from a slipped disc, there are certain things that you need to be mindful about.

These are a few things that increase pain and should be avoided:

  • Not stretching:

    Stretching before getting into the pool is crucial to avoid potential damage that could lead to unwarranted pain.

  • Neck injury:

    If you are swimming freestyle, make sure to slowly roll your head out of the water to breathe and avoid any dramatic movements that could add to the pain.

  • Flip turn:

    A flip turn at the end should be avoided as it requires technique. If you are not conditioned properly this could further injure the neck and back.

  • Overdoing the workout:

    Remember to not overdo the activity. Swimming is a very good way to relieve most of the problems associated with a slipped disc. If taken too far, it can strain a muscle and turn into a nightmare.

An important thing to note is that swimming alone cannot be a remedy to your slipped disc related pain. First, you should get professional help and seek advice from a physical therapist.

Swimming is safe because it is a low impact exercise. So, once advised to resume activity, start swimming gently with low-intensity strokes.

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