Ask Well: Swimming to Ease Back Pain

The New York Times—February 15, 2013

Dr. Scott Rodeo, a clinician-scientist at Hospital for Special Surgery, gives his expert advice on swimming strokes to alleviate back pain. Dr. Rodeo cares for elite and everyday athletes alike.

If you are cleared to swim, and just starting for the first time, pay close attention to your technique. Work with a coach or trainer if necessary. It may also be a good idea to start with the breaststroke, because the butterfly and freestyle strokes involve more trunk rotation. The backstroke is another good option, said Dr. Rodeo, who is co-chief of the sports medicine and shoulder service at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York.

“With all the other strokes, you have the potential for some spine hyperextension,” Dr. Rodeo said. “With the backstroke, being on your back, you don’t have as much hyperextension.”

Read the full story at


Find a Physician

Conditions & Treatments

adult child
Select A Body Part

Complete Listing »

Media Contacts

Tracy Hickenbottom
Monique Irons


Social Media Contacts

Andrew Worob
Otis Gamboa