Does swimming help with back pain? If you’re suffering from back pain , then you could have a difficult time finding a type of exercise that does not cause the pain. Many people talk about the benefits of swimming to help with rehabilitation and injury rehabilitation but is it specifically beneficial to those suffering from back pain?

It’s not a secret that staying active and active can ease back pain. Even activities such as walking can ease back pain, particularly when decked with supportive clothes such as a pair of most comfortable shoes for walking. But there should be more types of exercise for those suffering from back discomfort to take advantage of especially when it is a problem that affects millions of people. As per the CDC (opens in a new tab) lower back pain is extremely common and the main reason for disability across the globe. The CDC also discovered that it was the most prevalent kind of pain that patients complained about and accounted for around 25% of people having lower back pain within the last three months.

The American College of Physicians

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The majority of people with lower back pain will heal with time, regardless of the type of treatment. However, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try to take action. If you’re looking for exercise which can ease back pain swimming is on high on the agenda. The study was published within The Kurume Medical Journal

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Studies have shown that exercise in the water can be among the most effective types of exercise for those who suffer from back discomfort. Research has shown that water exercises can be beneficial for back pain sufferers.

Are you still wondering if swimming is good for back pain Have we sat down with three experts, including doctors, physiotherapists and osteopath to get their thoughts…

Medical experts from our medical team

Dr Folusha Oluwajana

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Dr Folusha Oluwajana

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Portfolio, portfolio of GP along with PT.

In addition to helping those who have back pain get some fitness, swimming can aid in relieving discomfort. “Having the weight of our bodies in water allows the relaxation as well as support to joints and muscles. It could even lessen the pressure on nerves. These factors allow us to build muscles and strength, as well as release endorphins which can help in tackling back discomfort,” says Miriam Daurat who is a physiotherapist at Our Health Hub (opens in a new tab).

But what if swimming does not feel like something you can do at the moment? Begin slowly! “I recommend my patients begin with pool therapy, where they begin by standing in the water. They can move on to walking lengths of the pool, by keeping their hands on the sides of the pool then gradually increasing the use of their arms and core muscles to provide stability. Don’t let pain guide you. If you feel pain then stop what you’re taking care of,” says osteopath Nadia Alibhai (opens in a new tab)

What can swimming do to help to ease your back hurt?

Are you curious about the mechanisms behind what swimming can help ease back discomfort? The water is a great place relaxation as well as the body to relax and unwind. “Swimming can aid in relieving back pain because it helps relieve pressure on joints, allowing the associated structures to relax, which may decrease the pressure on muscles,” Says Alibhai.

What strokes of swimming are most effective to treat back hurt?

Before you decide on which stroke you’ll use, take thought about your posture and how you can do it in a correct manner. It isn’t a good idea to accidentally create more problems for yourself. “Good technique when swimming is crucial, poor technique could cause tension in the lower and torso back that can result in discomfort and pain,” says Daurat.

The stroke that is optimal in your case and the back discomfort will be determined by the cause of your back discomfort, as well as your swimming abilities and intensity. “In general, you should focus in spine friendly strokes since the movement and position of different strokes may cause pain to spine spine,” advises Alibhai.


“It is crucial to utilize back safe strokes, the ones that limit excessive arching or rotations of your back which can cause additional stress. This is the most back friendly stroke to swim since you are sitting on your back and does not require any movement so that you will keep the neutral spine,” says Oluwajana.

Front crawl

In general the backstroke and front crawl are considered to be the best options for those suffering from back pain, however, be aware if you’re suffering from disc problems. “Backstroke and freestyle will not cause your back to arch , but they could cause more pain due to the discs that are located in the lower back,” says Alibhai.

If you do give the idea a try “keep your body level with water by bringing the lower abdominal muscles upwards and to the side and keeping your head straight, not elevated,” advises Alibhai.

Struggling? Oluwajana recommends using snorkels “this will make it back comfortable as you keep your head submerged and avoid the arching and rotation required when coming up to take a breath.”


The breaststroke isn’t the most back safe swimming technique, however it could be beneficial in certain circumstances. “The positions that are required for breaststroke could cause tension on the neck , and back particularly when done with improper technique, which can aggravate existing lower back discomfort. But a good technique for breaststroke can aid in strengthening your muscles of the upper back as well as shoulders.” adds Daurat.


If you’re recuperating from back pain, the breaststroke is best avoided. “The Butterfly and Breaststroke could cause your lower back to arch forward, which could cause stress on the facet joints at back of your spine. back of the spinal column, which can aggravate the situation,” advises Alibhai.

Other activities

Don’t forget that you can also perform other water-based activities! “Simply walking around an in-depth pool, stepping into water, or doing water aerobics are fantastic low-impact exercises for those suffering from back discomfort. They’re low-impact since the water supports your weight, thereby protecting your spine and tendons, however the water also offers resistance that makes it more difficult and strengthening,” Oluwajana says.

Can swimming help to make you back more robust?

The best part is that swimming can strengthen your back stronger as it’s a workout for resistance. “To propel yourself forward, you have to pull and push the water using your legs and arms. The primary strokes that build your back muscles are the backstroke as well as the butterfly. Swimming can also help strengthen the muscles of your buttocks like the gluteus maximus as well as the minimus, which aid in overall posture.” Says Alibhai.

“Swimming can to strengthen your back particularly the paraspinal muscles along with your shoulder, core, and glutes. This could result in improvements in back discomfort,” adds Oluwajana. Be careful not to push yourself too much. “As as with any type exercising, any increase in pain symptoms should be addressed in conjunction with your GP or Physiotherapist,” Daurat says. Daurat.

For more details on back discomfort and exercise, learn more about exercise bikes beneficial in treating back pain? You can also try this pilates back pain routine , and try out the best yoga mats you can find while at it.

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