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Scoliosis Treatment and Aquatic Therapy

Scoliosis Treatment and Aquatic TherapyScoliosis Treatment and Aquatic Therapy photo by VV Nimcic / cc 2.0

The Benefits of Aquatic Therapy for Scoliosis Treatment

Exercising can be a pain but if you have scoliosis, it can really be a “pain.” Scoliosis can be challenging for adults that are trying to find exercise to stay in shape, manage pain from their scoliosis, keep core muscles strong, and reduce the strain on their spine. Adult scoliosis occurs when your spine curves from side to side, often in the shape of a “C” or an “S” instead of a straight line. Scoliosis treatment in adulthood is typically managed through observation, pain management, and physical therapy instead of surgery which is only used in more extreme cases. Exercise can serve as a scoliosis treatment by providing you with symptom relief from the back pain that can come with scoliosis.

Exercise don’ts

There is a long list of exercise don’ts for adults with scoliosis. Regular running is not usually an option since it can bend or rotate the back. Back bends in yoga, dead lifts during cross fit, lunges, hamstring curls, and standing squats are all exercises that can do more harm than good when you are coping with scoliosis. Any exercise that has an impact with the ground like running, tennis, or basketball can aggravate the pain from scoliosis as shock waves run up your legs to your spine as your feet hit the ground.

Why walk on water when you can run in the pool

Summer’s coming and a warm weather exercise option for scoliosis treatment is as necessary in Texas as your central air conditioning and your sweet tea. When temperatures heat up, we all like to start spending time in the pool. Swimming has long been considered a preferred exercise to treat scoliosis says Livestrong. Water has been a therapeutic option going back throughout history. Water provides natural resistance for you to move against because you have to work harder to propel yourself through water than you do through air. Water also gives you buoyancy. Buoyancy acts against gravity and reduces the effect of gravity on the body. You are able to avoid the jarring impacts that are present in so many other forms of exercise. When water is cool in temperature, it can also help improve circulation.

Exercising in the water also provides stress and tension relief which in turn helps with symptom management. However, traditional swimming may still require extensive stroke modification and frankly, for many people is an intimidating endeavor. Unless you swam competitively in your younger days or have taken a Masters’ swim class, many adults feel overwhelmed to think about trying out traditional swimming for consistent exercise and symptom management. No one wants to be the slowest lap swimmer in the pool.

Presenting aqua jogging

Aqua jogging is running or jogging while in water. When you move in water, the properties of water allow you to avoid all the wear and tear that comes from most other forms of exercise. Exercising in the water eliminates debilitating effect on muscles and joints that is present with repetitive jarring or pounding motions against pavement or a gym floor.

The main piece of equipment needed for most aqua jogging exercises is a buoyancy belt. A flotation or buoyancy belt helps support your head and upper body to stay above the water keeping you in a more normal or upright position with a running stride. Along with improving your posture for aqua jogging, a buoyancy belt will provide support to the lower back while helping to tone abdominal muscles. Some aqua joggers may also choose to use webbed gloves to improve efficiency or aqua weights to increase difficulty. Aquatic training shoes can help protect bare feet while increasing the cardiovascular workout, increasing the level of resistance, and using more muscles than when barefoot.

There are two places in the pool to aqua jog. The first is down in the deep end where the aqua jogging is non-impact since you don’t touch the bottom. If you are in a backyard pool or a pool that has you needing to head to the shallow end, your aqua jogging is considered low-impact since you are making some contact with the pool floor.

Feel the burn

Don’t be fooled by a lower heart rate. You are still working hard. In the water, your heart rate may be as much as 22-26 beats per minute lower than while on land. Since your body temperature is typically higher than the water temperature and there is water pressure against your body, your heart may not need to work as hard. Calorie burn is usually higher with water running burning closer to 11.1 calories a minute vs. 8 calories per minute with regular running. Aqua jogging can also improve overall aerobic capacity as well.

Rather than risking more back pain with your scoliosis through other forms of exercise, consider giving aqua jogging a try. Before you hit the pool, contact DISC Spine Institute for a consultation to see if aqua jogging is the right choice for you for scoliosis treatment. DISC Spine Institute are experts in minimally invasive treatments, the most effective medical procedures to treat and eliminate chronic back pain. Subscribe to Back Stories to stay up to date on all the latest posts.

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