Recommending swimming to people with low back pain: a scoping review
Oakes, H., DeVivo, M., Mills, H. and Stephensen, D. 2023. Recommending swimming to people with low back pain: a scoping review. Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies. 36, pp. 274-281. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbmt.2023.05.012
|Authors||Oakes, H., DeVivo, M., Mills, H. and Stephensen, D.|
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.
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.
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 which integrated swimming into a rehabilitation programme and one used swimming to modify lumbar lordosis.
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.
|Keywords||Low back pain; Swimming|
|Journal||Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies|
|Journal citation||36, pp. 274-281|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI)||https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbmt.2023.05.012|
|Online||31 Aug 2023|
|Publication process dates|
|Accepted||25 May 2023|
|Deposited||04 Sep 2023|
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