Degenerative disc disease is defined as damage that develops in a disc due to the natural breakdown of the spine. This condition is commonly found in the lumbar spine because this section of the spine is responsible for supporting the weight of the body as well as the body’s movement and range of motion. This constant pressure makes the discs in the spine wear down over the years, leading to the development of degenerative disc disease.
Along with other forms of degenerative disc disease treatment, exercise is typically recommended to help minimize back pain. More and more individuals are finding that water exercises are an excellent option, as water provides both resistance to strengthen muscles and buoyancy to minimize the impact on joints.
Before making any lifestyle changes or beginning serious exercise, it is important to meet with your physician to set up a treatment plan consisting of various conservative treatment methods. Typically, the physician will recommend an option for pain management, something to build muscle, and lifestyle suggestions. Together, an individual can work on healing their spine health as well as build and retrain muscles to prevent the condition from worsening.
Water exercises are one of the best options for patients who have difficulty working out due to their condition. Depending on where you live, you may be able to find a local water aerobics class that is specially designed for individuals with back pain and spine conditions like degenerative disc disease. If not, or if you prefer doing exercises individually, here are a few water exercises you can try on your own.
Water Exercises to Help with Back Pain
With clearance from your doctor, the following exercises could be very effective in treating degenerative disc disease:
- Knee to chest – While standing on one leg, lift the other leg so that the knee meets the chest, then switch and lift the other knee to the chest. It helps to hold onto the edge of the pool to help with balance and stability.
- Leg raise – Similar to the first exercise, you will stand on one leg and lift up the other one. The difference is that you will keep the leg you’re raising straight and won’t lift it as high.
- Walking – Walking from one edge of the pool to the other in chest-deep water can provide a great low-impact workout. It’s gentle on the knees while providing a great strengthening workout.
As with other exercises, it is important to listen to your body when doing any water exercises and to stop any exercise that causes excessive pain. These exercises should not be painful, but should feel somewhat challenging, as this means you are successfully building muscle.
If You Need a Backup Plan…
If the conservative treatment plan is ineffective after several weeks or months, you may be a candidate for surgery. At BEST Health System, our surgeons specialize in minimally invasive spine procedures on an outpatient basis that allow for faster recovery times. If you are interested in learning more about the surgical options available through BEST, contact our team today and get started on your path to recovery. The BEST is yet to come.