One of the toughest parts of the pandemic for me was the closure of my local indoor pool. And not because I want to splash around for kicks.
I found it was the BEST possible exercise for my sciatica.
Now, the latest research reveals I’m far from the only one who gets back pain relief from a dip in the pool.
If you struggle with pain yourself, it may be time to hit the pool (if it’s open). And that’s particularly true if you’re battling low back pain.
Because it turns out it might be one of the best non-drug options out there for back pain.
Head to the pool for REAL relief
If you’re like me with my sciatica, you’ve probably tried just about everything for your own nagging aches. Especially that stubborn back pain.
There are entire stores in the mall dedicated to pain relief devices and gizmos. You’ll find stretching bands, foam rollers, TENS electric stimulators, infrared gadgets, high-tech massagers, and more.
Some of that stuff does do the trick for some folks. But for many others, those solutions fall short, and the pain remains.
If you ever find something safe that’s an effective pain reliever for you, then, by all means, keep at it. However, for a reliable, research-proven, back-pain reliever, you might want to leave the mall and head to the pool instead.
The new study put water-based exercise sessions to the test against infrared ray thermal therapy and TENS in folks with low back pain.
Some had standard low back pain. Others were more like me, with pain radiating into the legs thanks to a surly sciatic nerve.
And the results were impressive.
A quick dip can beat back pain
Just one in five got significant relief from the gadgets. That was defined as at least two points on a 10-point pain scale, as well as a five-point improvement on a 24-point disability scale.
As I said, these things do work for some people. But clearly, they don’t do much for most folks.
Water exercises, however, were far more effective. More than half of the folks given the classes enjoyed significant relief. And almost as many saw a benefit on the disability scale.
What’s more, those benefits lasted.
The pool dipping participants actually got a little better over time, even after the water exercises had ended. Overall, they had a 60 percent improvement in disability from back pain a full nine months after the pool sessions were over.
If you want to give it a shot yourself, don’t just put on the trunks and cannonball into the pool. While I’m sure any decent activity that involves movement and stretching will help relieve pain, the folks in the new study followed some standard aquatic exercise moves.
You can find easy-to-follow instructions for the basics online. In fact, I found some great tutorial videos on YouTube. Or, if your local pool is back open, they may have instructors who can help talk you through them.
For five more powerful ways to beat back pain without drugs or surgery see my earlier report here.