It’s summer time, I have a small garden with many potted container plants and they need tending to on a daily basis. So, along with that comes your body sometimes not wanting to roll out of bed. We are thinking of getting some sort of backyard pool to help me with physical fitness/exercise to put less stress on the body while doing so. The down side is well, Dusty. He can swim. He has gone with my daughter too many times, gone to the beach and had plenty of fun. He was even given a surfing lesson along with other Special Olympic athletes. BUT- having something in the backyard is a huge difference. He has never given us any sign that he couldn’t deal with it being there but having seizures like has doesn’t makes it any easier. If he were to have a grand-mal seizure and per say was in the pool ,that could render him defenseless and if someone isn’t looking closely he could easily go under. We would have to cover it daily or find a way for him to not access it without someone watching him.

But these are some of the things I have learned.

Water therapy exercise programs consist of a variety of treatments and exercises that are done in a pool and may be specifically designed to provide relief of low back pain or neck pain. These exercises also serve to condition and strengthen muscles to help avoid future recurrences of back pain.

Water therapy exercise is especially helpful in cases where a land-based exercise program is not possible due to the intensity of pain, decreased bone density, disability or other factors. As such, water therapy is a versatile exercise and is particularly good for people with conditions such as:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Advanced osteoporosis (with susceptibility to and/or pain from fracture)
  • Muscle strain or tears

In addition to those conditions, water therapy is frequently recommended as one form of exercise therapy to treat those with diabetes as well as individuals with high blood pressure. Both conditions can improve and become more manageable with aquatic exercise.

All of these conditions can make it uncomfortable or painful to exercise on a hard or even padded surface, or while standing. Water provides a much gentler, welcoming environment.

Knee-to-chest exercise. This movement is performed while standing on one leg, which is slightly bent, and one leg outstretched in front while one hand holds onto the side of the pool. It strengthens and stretches the muscles in the leg, hip, and lower back.

  • Leg raise exercise. This movement is performed with one leg outstretched and the supporting leg slightly bent while one hand holds onto the side of the pool. It strengthens and stretches the muscles in the leg, hip, and lower back.
  • Wall-facing leg stretch exercise. In this stretching exercise individuals assume a “Superman” position with hands resting on side of pool and the body and legs outstretched into and supported by water. This extends all regions of the back and the joints in the back, as well as stretching shoulder muscles.
  • Pool walking exercise. Walking both forward and backward in chest-high water works the leg muscles while exerting no impact of the knees or hips, which is particularly important for people who have arthritis in those joints. The walking exercise can be made more demanding with the addition of hand floats or light weights, so a stroll in the pool becomes an aquatic version of power walking.
  • Quadruped activity and exercise. This exercise works legs and arms and is performed while floating on one’s back (sometimes achieved with a therapist supporting the trunk or using a flotation jacket). The individual makes paddling motions with his or her arms and legs.

People with ongoing or recurrent episodes of lower back pain should consider the benefits of walking as a low-impact form of exercise. Aerobic exercise has long been shown to reduce the incidence of low back pain. However, people with low back pain often find some forms of exercise too painful to continue, and therefore don’t get the exercise they need to maintain good health. Exercise walking is one way to benefit from regular exercise while not aggravating the structures in the lower back.

For some back conditions, walking will aggravate or cause too much pain to be bearable. For these patients, other low-impact exercise may be advisable, especially water therapy (pool therapy such as aqua-jogging or deep water aerobics). The body’s buoyancy reduces compression on the lower back, allowing for more pain free movement.

Benefits for walking for exercise

Strengthens muscles in the feet, legs, hips, and torso – walking increases the stability of the spine and conditions the muscles that keep the body in the upright position.

  • Nourishes the spinal structures – walking for exercise facilitates strong circulation, pumping nutrients into soft tissues and draining toxins.
  • Improves flexibility and posture – exercise walking along with regular stretching allows greater range of motion; helps prevent awkward movements, and susceptibility of future injury.

I wake up in the morning with a stiff back and then towards the end of the day I end up with it again. Kind of leaves me with a window or time to get the things done in the garden or anything physical in nature because you know as soon as it starts feeling less cooperative then you start to get extremely irritable and ready to throw in the towel.

1. Tight hamstrings

Your hamstrings run through the back of each of your thighs. These large and powerful muscles can become tight for a number of reasons, including physical inactivity or a lack of stretching before and/or after working out.

You may be surprised to learn that tight hamstrings limit the motion in your pelvis, which in turn can increase the stress on your lower back and cause stiffness. Conversely, targeted hamstring stretching can gradually lengthen your hamstrings, and thereby relieve lower back stiffness.

2. Poor sitting posture

The majority of us spend over 8 hours per day sitting down. And all this time sitting can take its toll on our lower backs if we are not diligent in regards to our sitting posture.

Common sitting posture mistakes include:

  • Sitting on the edge of your chair
  • Hunching forward towards your computer (not utilizing the lumbar support of your chair)
  • Staring down and/or up at your computer screen. (Funny, I am starting down at my screen now)

Some of the possible negative effects of these posture mistakes including the following:

  • Strain on your lower back muscles
  • Stress on your lumbar spine
  • Changes to the anatomical structures of your spine over the long term (this can result in problems with your nerves, discs, or joints in your lower back).

3. Lumbar herniated disc

Often as a result of wear and tear, the outer ring of one of your lumbar discs may bugle or crack. This in turn can lead to lower back pain and stiffness when the gel-like inner material leaks out (or herniates) and affects nearby nerve roots. Or you may experience symptoms in the disc space itself.

Stiffness and other symptoms in your lower back from a lumbar herniated disc are often aggravated by movement. For example, you might feel more pain after you get up following a prolonged period of sitting (or perhaps following a laugh or sneeze). Additionally, hunching forward may also intensify your symptoms.

 

4. Facet joint osteoarthritis can lead to back stiffness

If you have lower back stiffness that is worse first thing in the morning and later in the evening, it may be caused by facet joint osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis can lead to back stiffness by causing the cartilage to breakdown between the facet joints in your lower back. As a result, your joints create more friction between one another, and as this limits your motion you often get stiffer and experience more back pain. This cause of back stiffness is most likely to occur in patients over 60 years old.

 

I admit there have been plenty of times when the pain and stiffness was more than I wanted to fight with at that moment and just kind of sat there and tried not to move. You don’t want it to get so stiff it gets like a rusty old bike chain that can’t move at all because there isn’t anything to help lubricate the ”joints” in the chain and you push it til you can’t push anymore. At that point I believe the chain would likely break. It is a see-saw that you never can truly balance once you end up with spinal injuries that doctors and surgeons tell you they can’t do anything but medicate me. It is a daily struggle. But one I take with the best smile on my face I can drum up. I don’t want to stay so medicated that I can’t enjoy life and I don’t want to not medicate myself to the point the pain will not let me enjoy life either.

 

Be safe, Have a happy 4th of July! and always remember to SMILE!

Originally posted 2017-07-03 14:02:58.