Can swimming help as part of your spinal stenosis treatment plan?

If you have been diagnosed with spinal stenosis, you may be struggling with symptoms like pain and stiffness in your neck or back. With these chronic symptoms preventing you from participating in the activities you enjoy, you may be surprised to learn that one method of spinal stenosis treatment is swimming. Getting in a pool to do any type of physical activity may sound like the last thing you want to do when you are in pain, but swimming is a commonly recommended spinal stenosis treatment that can even help you avoid having to undergo spinal surgery.

Swimming is such an effective method of spinal stenosis treatment because it allows the body to exercise and stretch simultaneously. The buoyancy of the water allows your spine to lengthen as your upper body and arms float upward. Because of this, the pressure on your pinched nerve is reduced and your pain begins to subside. Additionally, this spinal stenosis treatment allows you to work your core muscles while not placing pressure on the damaged portion of your spine. Your core muscles help to support the weight of your body, thereby reducing the overall pressure on your spine. In some instances, this continual swimming exercise will result in weight loss, which also relieves pressure on the spine.

Prior to starting this treatment, be sure to talk to your doctor about any restrictions you may have. Your doctor may advise you to avoid certain movements in the pool, such as:

  • Sudden twisting or jerking motions
  • Full body swimming that may twist the spine
  • Jumping
  • Any other movement beside walking in the pool, initially

For many patients, this type of spinal stenosis treatment is effective. However, if you have not found relief after several months of swim therapy and other conservative treatments, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn about how our minimally invasive spine surgery can be used to treat spinal stenosis.

We can provide you with a no-cost MRI review* to determine if you are a candidate for one of our outpatient procedures.

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