Therapeutic swimming for osteochondrosis: the rules of classes and exercises in the water

According to statistics, osteochondrosis of all parts of the spine is increasingly detected in people of working age and in adolescents. The main reason for this is the lack of constant mobility that the spinal column needs in everyday life, the choice of harmful products.

Without treatment, developing osteochondrosis can become the main cause of disability and early disability. With timely treatment, the disease can stop and even win.

For the treatment of patients, drugs with a certain mechanism of action are necessarily prescribed, and during the recovery period it is proposed to perform exercise therapy, that is, physiotherapy complexes of classes. Properly organized swimming takes a special place in the set of exercises.

What does swimming give for osteochondrosis of the spine

Osteochondrosis is a chronic pathology that develops only in humans as a result of degenerative-dystrophic disorders in the tissues of the discs located between the vertebrae.

Violation of the normal physiological structure of the discs leads to the fact that adjacent vertebrae become closer to each other, nerve roots are compressed and the functioning of the entire spinal column changes. Osteochondrosis is manifested by severe pain, limited mobility, pathologies of internal organs.

Properly organized swimming classes allow you to achieve several therapeutic effects on the spine at once. Swimming, if done correctly, contributes to:

  • Relaxation. With any osteochondrosis, the muscles are spasmodic , tense and this reduces mobility. Water helps the entire spine to relax, relieves muscle spasm and at the same time strengthens the muscles. Strengthening the back leads to the fact that the vertebrae are less displaced. Therefore, swimming is considered to be not only a remedy, but also a preventive measure against intervertebral hernias.
  • Acceleration of metabolic processes. Strengthening microcirculation and blood circulation in cells contributes to the fact that the tissues of damaged and still normal discs receive the nutrition they need in the form of trace elements and minerals and therefore begin to recover.
  • In water, flattened vertebral discs gradually straighten, and this leads to stretching of the spine. The widening of the gaps between the vertebrae relieves pinched nerves, and the person almost immediately feels a significant reduction in pain.
  • Water procedures are the best way to improve immunity, which is important in the treatment of any diseases.
  • Regular swimming and bathing, and especially exercise in the water, will reduce weight. It also eases the symptoms of osteochondrosis, since extra pounds load the spinal column and contribute to negative changes in the intervertebral discs.
  • Swimming improves the functioning of the heart and respiratory system, and helps create a positive mood for recovery.

Exercises in the water and even ordinary swimming are recommended for osteochondrosis of any of the parts of the spine – lumbar, thoracic, cervical.

If, while taking chondroprotectors, vitamin complexes and other medications for the treatment of osteochondrosis, you practice swimming and physical education, then you can restore the discs damaged by the disease and significantly improve the condition of the entire spinal column.

Does it help with an illness in the cervical spine

Cervical osteochondrosis is a disease detected among the younger generation. Neck stiffness, headaches, fatigue, limitation of movement in the hands – all these are the consequences of impaired mobility of the vertebrae.

Swimming with chondrosis of the cervical spine brings undoubted benefits:

  • In the water, the neck relaxes, the spasm is removed, the brain is better supplied with oxygen.
  • Regular pool exercises help to create a strong muscular corset around the neck, and this reduces the likelihood of further pathological changes in the discs.
  • The respiratory system is trained, which is important for enhancing immunity and for reducing fatigue.

Often, severe pain in the neck makes a person be wary of exercising in the water. And this is correct on the one hand – inept exercise, sudden movements can cause even more disturbances.

Therefore, when choosing swimming as a complex of exercise therapy for osteochondrosis, you need to understand what can be done in artificial and natural reservoirs, and what cannot.

General rules for classes

Medical swimming doctors advise to perform only in the pools. In natural reservoirs – rivers, lakes, the sea, there may be a strong current, which will require some effort when swimming, which means that the load on the vertebrae will be increased. Also, in such water, the temperature is not always acceptable for osteochondrosis – the cold increases the inflammation.

When practicing in the pool, patients with osteochondrosis must always follow several rules, if they are not followed, then you can provoke an exacerbation of the pathology.

  • The water temperature in the selected pool should not be below 27 degrees during the first sessions, it is optimal if it stays at 30 degrees. After several sessions, you can swim in cooler water, but in any case, the temperature should not be lower than 23 degrees Celsius.
  • Before entering the pool, warm up for a few minutes. This can be moderate exercise, light massage. Warming up increases blood flow to the spinal column and prepares it for exercise.
  • Depending on which part of the spine of the patient is impaired, the swimming style is chosen. In case of damage to the cervical vertebrae, it is recommended to swim on the back, so the altered vertebrae will experience the positive effect of water. With other osteochondrosis, you can practice a style such as breaststroke. When it is performed, the spine and limbs are maximally immersed in water.
  • Patients with osteochondrosis should avoid sudden movements in the pool. It is recommended to wear glasses and hats, this will help to avoid getting water in the eyes and ears, which in turn often provokes sudden head movements.
  • It is recommended to visit the pool at least twice a week, the optimal time for one session is 40-50 minutes.
  • It is possible to practice in the pools with osteochondrosis and those people who cannot swim. Special devices – pillows, rings – will help them stay on the water.
  • Special water exercises for osteochondrosis should be recommended by a specialist in remedial gymnastics. In any case, at first it is necessary to choose the complexes with the minimum load.
  • You need to breathe properly in swimming pools. Inhale should be deep, measured and slow. The exhalation must be done quickly. This breathing technique leads to better ventilation of the lungs and changes the mobility of the vertebrae, which has a positive effect on reducing the pressure on the nerves.

Ideally, you can find a pool where lessons are taught by an experienced instructor. A specialist will definitely monitor your condition, tell you which complexes you can do in the first place, and which ones should be postponed.

Swimming should become an integral part of life, it will avoid exacerbations of the disease, relieve pain, stiffness, help to reduce weight and increase immunity.

Exercises in the pool water

Exercises for patients with osteochondrosis in the pool must first learn how to select and perform correctly.

Water aerobics is shown both for young and old people, many movements are much easier in the water, since there is no such load as in normal conditions on land.

As already mentioned, a five-minute warm-up is always necessary in the beginning, and only then can you descend into the water.

The safest, most effective and easy-to-perform exercises for osteochondrosis include:

  • Hanging on the bar. On land, not every person can stretch the spine by hanging on a horizontal bar. In water, gravity is reduced and the exercise is easier to do. In the absence of special devices in the pool, you can stretch the spinal column by hanging on its side for several minutes.
  • In the pool, for any type of osteochondrosis, it is shown to make neat swings in different directions with arms and legs, turns of the body, bends.
  • You can do the exercises with an inflatable pillow. It is alternately clamped between the arms or legs and floated, using only a free pair of limbs. You should not be zealous, after each swim you need to give your body a little rest.
  • The following exercise perfectly relieves the load from the spinal column. It is necessary to raise the feet on the side of the pool, while the pelvis should touch its edge, and the back is on the water. Hands can be gently brought behind the head, in this position are for several minutes.
  • After stretching the spinal column, you can walk along the bottom of the pool doing certain exercises. It can be tilting the body in different directions, squats, running in place, moving arms in different directions.
  • With cervical osteochondrosis, it is recommended to perform mainly those exercises that are easy to perform while lying on your back.

Exercises in the pool must be practiced constantly, only in this case it will be possible to notice a positive result. It is also necessary to expand the complexes of classes gradually, since a strong, one-time load will lead to increased pain and stiffness.


Swimming with osteochondrosis can not always be practiced, so first you need to know all the contraindications to this sport. Water procedures in swimming pools, and even more so in natural reservoirs, are contraindicated if:

  • Osteochondrosis is at an acute stage of its development. In case of severe pain and limited mobility, first it is necessary to receive a course of drug treatment and only after stabilization of health, proceed to water procedures in the pools.
  • There are signs of respiratory diseases, flu, colds. During these illnesses, swimming pool activities are temporarily postponed until complete recovery.
  • Swimming is contraindicated in severe heart and respiratory failure.
  • Exercises in water are temporarily postponed when skin diseases develop in the acute stage.
  • The patient has a history of a disease such as epilepsy or a tendency to seizure syndrome.

Considering all the nuances of therapeutic swimming in pools, it is possible to reduce the main manifestations of the disease after the first two or three sessions. But do not forget about drug treatment. Only complex therapy is able to suspend pathological changes in the spine.

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