Recommending swimming to people with low back pain: A scoping review

OAKES, Helen, DE VIVO, Marlize, MILLS, Hayley and STEPHENSEN, David (2023). Recommending swimming to people with low back pain: A scoping review. Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, 36, 274-281.

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Background: It is common practice for health professionals to recommend swimming to people with low back pain (LBP) despite limited evidence. The aim of this review was to gain an understanding of the current evidence base supporting the recommendation of swimming to people with LBP. Methods: A scoping review was conducted searching five electronic databases, CINAHL, MEDLINE, PEDro, PubMed, and SPORTdiscus using the keywords back pain AND swim*. The studies were grouped by study design and the following uncertainties were considered; the impact of swimming on the spine and LBP, evidence of swimming increasing or reducing the risk of LBP and the use of swimming in LBP rehabilitation programmes. Results: 25 studies met the eligibility criteria; including sixteen observational studies exploring the relationship between swimming and LBP, three biomechanical studies investigating the impact of swimming on the spine, and five interventional studies of which four integrated swimming into a rehabilitation programme and one used swimming to modify lumbar lordosis. Conclusion: The review confirmed there is limited research and only low-level evidence to support the recommendation of swimming to people with LBP. Observational studies make up the greater proportion of research undertaken in the field; the data indicates that swimming is a low-risk form of exercise but not without risk. The findings from biomechanical research suggest that lumbar lordosis does not increase excessively when swimming breaststroke, but certain swimming techniques could negatively impact LBP and interventional trials illustrate that there are various ways to integrate swimming into a rehabilitation programme.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Low back pain; Swimming; Humans; Low Back Pain; Lordosis; Swimming; Lumbar Vertebrae; 1104 Complementary and Alternative Medicine; 1106 Human Movement and Sports Sciences; Orthopedics; 4207 Sports science and exercise; 4208 Traditional, complementary and integrative medicine
Identification Number:
Page Range: 274-281
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 22 Dec 2023 11:45
Last Modified: 22 Dec 2023 11:45

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