Water Therapy Exercises
Water therapy exercises are one of the commonly used methods for treating back pain and can such as spa therapy, swimming, floating or standing exercises in the pool, and/or conditioning involving specialized equipment. Specialized equipment for water therapy exercise can include floatation devices, surgical tubing, or resistive devices on the feet or hands.
Exercises will generally range from easy exercises that take place in a pool of shallow water to more intensive exercises such as those involving underwater treadmills. Because of the diversity and variation of different water therapies, your specific therapy plan should be custom tailored to fit your specific needs.
Common Pool Therapy Exercises
Several of the more common therapy exercises can be performed in your pool and the techniques involved are listed below.
- Pool walking exercise: This exercise involves walking forward, or forward and backward while in water that is about as deep as your chest. Pool walking will work your leg muscles without causing high impact to your ankles, knees, or hips. This exercise can be enhanced with the addition of weights or floats to make it more of a power walking version of pool walking.
- Leg raise exercise: While standing in the pool, use one hand to stabilize yourself by holding onto the side wall. Next, slightly bend your right leg while keeping your right foot planted on the pool floor. Then, slowly kick your left leg straight out while keeping your left straight. Finally, lower your left leg back to the starting position. Repeat ten times for each leg. This exercise will strengthen and stretch the lower back muscles, leg, and hip.
- Knee to chest exercise: This exercise is similar to the leg raise exercise, except instead of kicking you raise one leg, bend at the knee, until your knee reaches your chest, or as far as you can comfortably go. This exercise will also strengthen and work the muscles in your legs, hips, and lower back.
- Leg stretch exercise facing the wall: This exercise will work all muscles in the back, the joints in your back, and your shoulder muscles. This exercise will need to be performed near the side wall in the pool. To start, put yourself into a, “superman,” position in the water. Stretch your arms out forward and hold onto the side wall of the pool. Use your back muscles, arms and legs, to keep yourself horizontal in the water and tilt your head back so you can breathe.
Spa treatments are generally used in conjunction with pool therapy exercises. Spa treatments will usually involve spending time in a warm spa or whirlpool bath that has jets or can agitate the water. The jets will help to relax your muscles and improve blood flow, resulting in greater flexibility and preparation for your water or land-based exercises.