Swimming helps to soothe Dave’s chronic back pain

Love Swimming

After falling from a trials bike in his teens, Dave Tonkin became accustomed to suffering chronic pain in his back.

But as he reached his late 30s, the Truro resident decided it was time for change.

Dave saw a chiropractor and a physiotherapist, who recommended he take up swimming.

Although he had swum competitively as a child, he had not stepped into a pool as an adult.

Dave has shared his story as part of the latest Swim England-led #LoveSwimming campaign Moving Medicine, which urges the medical profession to be more proactive in prescribing swimming as part of a programme of activity to manage medical conditions and aid recovery.

“Swimming has had such a positive impact on my physical health,” he said. “I didn’t take my pain seriously when I was younger and I should have.

“I started to feel old by my mid 30s from doing a desk-based job and not taking care of my back.”

A fresh start

Dave has now been swimming regularly for thirteen years and has not had to return to the chiropractor, nor the physiotherapist.

His experience has echoes of Paul Kirby’s #LoveSwimming story.

Paul also had chronic back pain after working a desk job and sitting for long periods of time.

Like Paul, Dave enjoys a healthier lifestyle as a result of his swimming programme.

“I swim five times a week and each time it feels different. It’s brilliant,” Dave added.

“I feel like I’m winning in so many ways – my pain is managed, I’ve lost weight, I enjoy it and it was the catalyst for me to stop smoking.”

The #LoveSwimming campaign is delivered by Swim England in partnership with 1 Life, Active Nation, Active Lifestyle Centres managed by Circadian Trust, Everyone Active, Freedom Leisure, GLL, Gateshead Council, Leicester City Council, Nottingham City Council, Nuffield Health, Places for People and Serco.

Moving Medicine is the latest wave of the campaign and has featured other swimmers highlighting the benefits of swimming on their physical health, including Steve Wright, who began swimming as a form of rehabilitation after suffering a stroke, and Wanda Stockdale, who said visits to the pool has helped her manage her osteoarthritis.