Worldwide, over 1.5 billion people suffer from chronic pain. Unfortunately, this kind of pain can be so excruciating, even performing simple daily tasks can be challenging. People who experience intense and consistent pain are constantly looking for ways to fight back and lessen the discomfort. Talking to a medical expert should be the first step, but simply getting in the pool can actually help a lot when it comes to pain management.
Swimming is the fourth most popular sports activity in the United States. Not only is swimming great for athletic competition, it’s great for relaxing and dealing with intense chronic pain.
According to Dynamic Health, swimming is one of the best ways to stay active and heavy. Swimming laps in a pool is a low impact exercise that increases cardiovascular health while reducing stress on muscles and joints. Patients living with chronic leg, back, next, and other types of pain, as well as arthritis, can benefit tremendously from swimming.
The motion of swimming uses many muscles throughout the entire body and increases both lung capacity and heart rate similar to running. Running, however, isn’t great for chronic pain sufferers and doesn’t minimize the impact on joints like swimming does.
Here are some great tips for exercising in the pool in order to combat your chronic pain:
- Avoid shear forces — Too much shear force is bad for dealing with pain. To avoid this kind of force, consider using a mask and snorkel to eliminate the need to arch your lower back while lifting your head up for air. Also, work alongside an athletic trainer to perfect your swim stroke.
- Focus on spine-friendly strokes — The position and movement of certain strokes will affect your spine in various ways. Avoid the butterfly and break stroke because these add stress to your facet joints and can lead to problems and worsening pain.
Swimming is great for managing chronic pain — but there are plenty of other remedies that work, as well. Here are some additional ways to help alleviate your chronic pain:
- Practice deep breathing and meditation.
- Reduce stress in your life.
- Cut back on alcohol and tobacco.
- Monitor and track your pain levels every day.
Don’t let chronic pain control your life. And remember to talk to your doctor before committing to a major lifestyle change or wholistic treatment!