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Tips for swimming with a disc protrusion

Staying active is important if you’re dealing with a disc protrusion — but so is choosing the right type of exercise. High-impact sports that involve frequent jumping or bending can place extra stress on the spine, so activities like running and heavy weightlifting are likely out of the question (at least for the time being). That said, low-impact activities like swimming can provide comparable benefits in terms of cardiovascular fitness and strength, but with less demand on the body.

Is swimming good for back pain?

Swimming is one type of low-impact exercise that’s frequently recommended for people with back pain. Not only does it involve no harsh movements or impacts, but the water can help support some of the weight of the body, temporarily relieving stress on the spine. This can be particularly beneficial if you have a disc protrusion.

As is the case with any type of exercise, you’ll need to be consistent with your swimming routine to achieve the best results. Try to make it to the pool at least three days a week (but feel free to adjust your schedule if your symptoms are particularly severe on certain days). You may also find it helpful to:

  1. Try out a variety of strokes — (e.g., breaststrokes and sidestrokes) to find the one that feels most comfortable for you.
  2. Start out slowly — (10 to 15 minutes a day) and gradually increase your sessions until you’re able to swim for a half hour to 45 minutes.
  3. Complement — your swimming with abdominal exercises, such as traditional and side planks, to strengthen the muscles that support your spine.

Other ways to manage your disc protrusion symptoms

In addition to regular exercise, hot/cold therapy and anti-inflammatory medications may help you manage your disc protrusion symptoms. You might also try epidural spinal injections or — if your symptoms don’t respond to conservative treatments — you might consider surgery.

At USA Spine Care, we understand how frustrating it can be for chronic pain to get in the way of your daily life. Our board-certified surgeons+ perform minimally invasive disc protrusion surgery, offering another treatment option for patients with persistent symptoms.

If you’d like to find out if you’re a candidate for our outpatient procedures, contact us today. We can review* your MRI for free and give you more information about our minimally invasive approach to disc protrusion treatment. To learn more, contact us today.

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