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Aquatic Therapy- Water Exercises for Low Back Pain


Aquatic therapy or water therapy is beneficial in treatment of body pains. It is especially advised these days to get rid of lower back pain including pregnancy-related low back pain! Let's know more about what is aquatic or water therapy, why this is beneficial in getting rid of lower back pain, how and what types of water exercises to do and when not to do water exercises!

What is Aquatic or Water Therapy?

Aquatic therapy, sometimes called pool therapy is one of the physical therapies performed in the water. This therapy uses the resistance of water instead of weights in order to rehabilitate patients after injury or those suffering from chronic pain, not only in lower back but also in neck or other body parts. Water exercises done during water therapy sessions help in mobilizing joints, increasing range of motion and in developing balance and stability.

Why Water Therapy?- The Benefits

Sometimes land based exercises are not possible due to such factors as intensity of pain, decreased bone density, advanced osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, muscle strain or tear, some sort of disability or other conditions. Aquatic therapy conducted in pool provides a safe environment to work out  muscles and to stretch our bodies as water eliminates the constraints that result from gravity. Water exercises also help in conditioning and strengthening muscles that may avoid future recurrences of back pain. Water exercise therapy is also beneficial for people with diabetes and high blood pressure. The biggest advantage- You can do water exercise even if you don't know how to swim!

When Should you Not do Water Exercises?

In spite of many benefits of water therapy in treating back pain, there are certain situations when water exercise should not be done. Go through the below list and avoid doing water exercises without consulting with your physician or without the presence of qualified supporter when you do aquatic therapy exercises.

Seizures- Those having epilepsy should not step in water without a superviser who monitors vigilantly and is able to help when required.
Heart disease- one should consult with doctor and be very clear about what exercises to do in water and which ones to avoid. Close monitoring is required for people with heart diseases.
Neurological diseases- If someone suffers from MS or other neurological diseases, physician should be consulted about precautions to be taken while doing water exercises.
Open wounds and infection- One should not go into the pool with open wounds or infections.
Flu and other infectious diseases- Pool should be avoided in such case as it can make you more sick and may also infect others.
Uncontrolled bowel or bladder- If you cannot control your bowel or bladder, you should not go into the pool.
Fear of water- It might not let you get benefits of water exercises. First overcome the fear and then go for aquatic therapy.

How to do Water Exercises?

You cannot just step in the pool and start oing water exercises. You must follow the required routine for water therapy so that you may get all its benefits.

As with any fitness activity, there are some basic components to a water exercise session. A water exercise routine should start with a warm up for about 5-10 minutes. One of the easiest things to do to warm up is water walk. Then a series of gradually intensifying strengthening and aerobic exercises should build for about 20-30 minutes, or more if you can handle it. After that you can cool down (yes, you still need to cool down even though you are in the pool), with more water walking.

Warm up- Start your water exercise session with water walking for about 5-10 minutes.
Strengthening and aerobic exercises- Start strengthening and aerobic exercises for about 20 minutes. You should start with mild exercises and then gradually intensify them.
Cool down- Just as you warmed yourself up before starting water exercises, you should cool down after finishing them. Water walk for 5-10 minutes is again the best way to cool down. You can also stretch your hips and legs in water for a few minutes.

Which Water Exercises to do for Low Back Pain?

Now its turn to know some aquatic exercises that can help you get rid for low back pain.
Sometimes, you might want to do water therapy exercises for your back with aquatic equipment. These water exercise equipment are made of lightweight material that floats and are specially shaped for the purpose. You might chose to exercise in pool without any equipment too.

Water Walking- Apart from being a great warm up, water walk done with hand webs can be good for reducing back pain too. In about waist-high water, walk across the pool. Keep swinging your arms like when you walk on land. Don't walk on tiptoes and keep your back straight. Tighten your abdominal muscles so that you do not lean too far forward or to the side. You can  wear hand webs or other resistance devices to increase resistance as your hands and arms move through the water. Water shoes can also help you maintain traction on the bottom of the pool.

Leg Circles- Stand in the pool having waist-high water. Stand on the left leg and lift the right leg up. Now with the right leg, make three clockwise circles and then three counterclockwise circles. Repeat while standing on the right leg and making circles with the left leg. Doing atleast ten sets with each leg would strengthen your back.

Sit-down Exercise- You can do this water exercise with an imaginary chair. Stand in waist high water placing your back against the wall. Get yourself in a sitting position as if there was a chair on which you are sitting. Keep your thighs parallel to the floor of the pool. Now pump your arms as if you were marching. While doing this, count up to 30. Now take a break for half a minute and repeat the exercise.

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