Water Exercises For Lower Back Pain – Cool Off In Peace

By Michael

May 7, 2018

The name of the game is “To Heal”. If you opted to leave the walking grounds to pursue an easier solution to

your lower back pain, you’ll find that WATER THERAPY is the way to go!

The water is cool to the touch, but warm and delicate to your bodies nature. Did you know that you can actually add the same amount of walking on land as much as you can on water?

in this article I will be talking to you about the ways water exercises can be one of the best decisions you ever took, and how the exercises DO bring your pain down. And if you haven’t seen my swimming the wrong way article, you can always access that here.

What Is Your Advantage Of Getting In The Water?

Water can be a force to reckon with but its also a force to be pleasant with. When you jump into that soon to be therapeutic water, your natural reaction is to tense up. With movement, that can all go away

Swimming can give you a non-weight feeling. It also does the following:

  • Your joints feel less impact, putting less stress.
  • Your range of motion becomes greater
  • You can get healthy blood flow to your largest muscles, since the water is spread out(surface tension)
  • Helps the smaller groups as well

Its time to take a swim. Swimming has proven to have SO many benefits for me. When I was in pain from my degenerative disc disease L4-L5, I had to take my matters to the swimming pool. It was awesome!

Here are these other benefits that I got out of it:

  • Improved my muscles
  • bone strength increased
  • I became more flexible!

Here’s what’s crazy. After a couple days sequentially of being in the water, my bone mass went up. Why was this important? It helped reduce my inflammation at least 2 times faster.

See how there is lease ease? Your body naturally is designed to live an active lifestyle, don’t let it down this time.

You’ll Want To Give These Exercises The “Green Light”

Have you heard of hyper-extending your muscles? This is what we want to do, but In a good way.

Hyper-extension starts with the strokes you put in. These strokes will individually target:

  • Your abdominal
  • Hip muscles

This is the alternative to holding your posture on land when you try to walk. Your core is what gives you the posture you need to stay up, and be healthy.

So find the nearest pool, and leave any equipment behind because you will not need it!

#1 The very first thing I will do when I jump into the water is walk around in, or as it is called, doing “The March“. Right away, your natural reaction when you jump into a pool is to move around. But Why?


You want to create as much heat so you don’t stay cold. This can be done throughout the perimeter of the water, from end to end, or side to side.

What it does:

  • Releases any stiffness from stretching your legs out and walking

Think of this as being a warm up. You are loosening the muscles, and at the same time you are expanding the stiffness of your lower back.

​To me, this was something I would do with my friends. I’d jump into the pool, and start marching around from a small depth to a slightly elevated depth, and it helped relieve my stiffness much sooner.

#2 Knee to your chest

​Do you want a stationary position? You get the best of both worlds with this stretch.

Intensity level : Intense


  • Best performed in a swimming pool


  • Keeps your posture straight
  • Stretches the stiffness in your back

How to do:

  1. Find any wall of the pool, preferably where your feet can touch
  2. Place your back against the wall
  3. Plant your left leg down
  4. With both hands, grab your right knee and pull it up slowly
  5. Elevate till you feel a stretch
  6. Hold it for 15 seconds
  7. Switch sides
  8. Repeat

I advise that if your knee that’s in the air doesn’t let you go up, or move any further, come back down. Forcing it will cause further injury.

#3 Leg Lifts:

If you’ve done leg lifts outside the water you’ll know about this, but If you haven’t no need to worry, I got you.

​Environment: ​Any water


  • Releases tension in your hips
  • Tensions releases up to your lumbar- like your butt, and stiffness
  • Doing this regularly will bring you flexibility, and you will be able to stretch your leg further

How to do:

  1. Stand anywhere in the water where you can be balanced
  2. Starting with your right leg, lift it up to 90 degrees
  3. Feel the muscle tension in your spine
  4. Do this at least 10 times
  5. Switch legs
  6. Repeat

#4 Superman exercise

Environment: Pool


  • To bring you mobility
  • Work your lower back muscles so they strengthen
  • Stretches all areas:

– Upper back, shoulders, lower back, and your legs

How to do:

  1. Find the edge of the pool
  2. Place both hands on the edge
  3. Keep your torso up
  4. Legs together and elevated
  5. You should be linear
  6. Feel the stretch
  7. Let buoyancy support you to float


Environment: Any water


  • Minimizes hyper-extension
  • extension of the back is reduced

How to do: 

  1. Preferably start at the edge of a pool
  2. place both hands on the edge
  3. Place both feet on the wall, so that your slightly curved
  4. Push back slightly
  5. Start swimming backwards

Which Water Exercises Best Suit Your Needs?

If you have Degenerative Disc Disease, you should do these exercises discussed above:

  • Knee to chest
  • Marching(walking the perimeter)
  • Leg raise

For a Herniated disc: 

  • Knee to chest
  • Superman
  • Leg raise

For osteoarthritis:

  • Knee to chest
  • Marching(walking the perimeter)
  • Leg raise
  • Superman

For Spondyloisthesis:

  • Standing Knee lift
  • Marching(walking the perimeter)
  • Superman

The One Exercises I Hear About the Most

Rewind, Rewind, we’re not done covering all the exercises from A-Z, we have one left to talk about. This wouldn’t be the proper water exercises article If I had left out one of the most important “exercises”, treading water. While treading water to you might not seem like a water exercise, because after all, you’re trying to keep your head above water so you don’t go down under. This is a workout though, and it’s one that can burn some serious calories!

In about 20 minutes of treading water, your body can burn as much as 300 calories, and in about 1 hours’s worth, 600 calories! That’s much easier said than done though. You’d have to be flapping, kicking, and dancing your “feet of”, literally. It doesn’t make sense to do so unless you are:

  • treading in the deep end
  • trying to get from one end to the next
  • really wanting to burn some serious calories

So is it a bad workout? From a lower back pain point of view, it can and can’t be. Here is how to distinguish when it’s OK:

  • you can do it without pain
  • you can keep your back straight
  • keep your legs straight
  • arms out at 45 degrees
  • your heads above water
  • you’re doing it calmly without effort
  • done so for about 10 minutes

With the good, can also come the bad, and there are the things to look out for when treading water:

  • their’s pain
  • you’re kicking way too fast
  • you’re struggling to keep your head above water
  • you’re a novice swimmer
  • your arms are flailing to the sides(away from center support)
  • you’re bending backwards or forward

These is the criteria you should look out for when you have lower back pain. I always advise against treading water, because there is a possible error to turn, twist, bend, and pull your body in a direction that it shouldn’t be going in. Although it might seem like you have self control, that control can be taken away faster than you can think.

Think Aqua Therapy! It’s Done With Ease

You can make a difference in your pain by choosing to enter the waters. There is more of a depth feeling when healing through aqua therapy.

Imagine a weightless workout, doesn’t that not only sounds easy but great? Your Joints will get less impact, and in result you increase your motion, blood flow, and help to the smaller groups.

You can improve your muscles, bone strength, and increased flexibility.

There are a variety of exercises to choose from that will promise you the maximum amount of relief in time. Each one of them can best suit your needs depending on your level of pain.

If you have an y questions, comments, opinions, please leave me a comment down below. I will get back to your right away!

The Remove Back Pain System

So we’ve learned about how to exercise on land, and now on water, is there anything missing? If you’ve been following along with the remove back pain system, we talked about yoga, and I’ll reference that again right here if you want to look at it.

The other way that you can look at stretching is with resistance bands. It’s low impact, and they are a very supportive tool for making your stretches easier to accomplish and safer. Resistance band stretching is the third option I have for chronic lower back pain patients, and it’s one that I can say I support from the start for my acute patients to try right away.

The next installment will be to learn about Resistance Band stretching here.


About the author

Hi My name is Michael Granados, I am of the age of 26 years, and I’m a back pain specialist, enthusiast, and expert. All of us have had or will have lower back pain at least once in our lives, and whether it’s acute or a more chronic condition, you can depend on us here at Remove Back Pain to take great care of you. I ensure you’ll take the right and most appropriate steps for you to heal the safest and most productive way. Get ready for a better lifestyle!

  • There are some great exercises in here! I’m an office worker, so often get lower back pain from sitting too much and not moving enough. These suggestions for low-impact exercises in a pool are something that I’ll have to try. How often would you recommend doing a water workout?

    • Hi Mike.

      Oh yeah? The seats of doom as I like to say. I’m in the same place. It’s quite annoying isn’t it? Give them a look, they work really well. Considering the amount of workouts for your needs, you’ll look at 30-45 a session, for between 2 and 4 weeks. I did it every other day for 2.5 weeks. I felt great afterwards.

  • This is great information and I love the water. I usually swim 2 to 3 hours at a whack. I have never really done water exercises. One time I did try a water aerobics class just to see what it was all about. I ended up with a super sore back. Do you think the instructor was not having us do the exercises properly?

    • Hi,

      The waters a great feature isn’t it? Feels great and easy for the muscles and joints, weightless. Oh really? You must of had an intense curriculum. Did you do any of the workouts I mentioned? Sometimes it’s the instructor you get, their skills vary. Other factors are doing aqua jogging or running. Did you run a lot? Also, many people like myself have underestimated it, because it’s supposed to be challenging. The form of your exercises could be off.

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