Sunday, January 21, 2018

Keep Back Care Front and Center

April 5, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

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Back pain changes everything. It certainly pushes boating onto the back burner, and as the season is so short, that’s time you can’t make up. Being body conscious on and off the boat can help you prevent injuries and maximize your time on the water.

Active boaters bend, lift, pull, toss, reach, climb, and leap. These activities create wear and tear that may lead to painful injuries over time or cause sudden agony. According to Dr. Jennifer Amato, a board-certified sports chiropractor, the majority of injuries don’t come from a slip and fall. Rather, repetitive stress of common boating activities or improper body mechanics while doing them is what lead to injury.

Highlighted spine of woman with back painDr. Amato advises boaters to sidestep soreness and injuries by adopting these easy-to-follow practices:

Pay attention. Inattentiveness leads to falls.

Stay hydrated. Dehydration affects judgment and makes it more likely to strain a muscle. Boating requires a higher water intake than does being on land, so drink more water and add a touch of sea salt to help with absorption.

Appoint a first mate. As most injuries occur from muscle overuse, a second set of hands cuts down on repetitive stress.

Lift properly. Plant your feet shoulder width apart and bring the object as close to your body (waist high) as possible. Look in front and not down, contract your abdominals, and bend from your knees — sticking out your butt allows you to use your legs and not your back.

Improve balance, strength, and flexibility. Weak or shortened muscles are more likely to be hurting muscles, so a stretching and exercise routine is vital.

If you spot Dr. Ronda Bachenheimer stretching on the beach, she may be preparing herself for boating. She knows that stretching the neck, back, legs, and shoulders for about 10 minutes before boating is a way to avoid strains and sprains and to prevent injury.

Dr. Bachenheimer, a chiropractor, offers boaters more tips for avoiding back injury. When encountering choppy waters or an approaching wake, bend the knees and let your legs take the jolts. Simultaneously tighten your abdominal muscles to help protect the spine and the back.

As most boating involves sitting or standing for long periods of time, Dr. Bachenheimer advises boaters to change positions whenever possible to offer some tension relief to the body. If you’re sitting, stand up and bring movement back into stiffened muscles. If you’ve been standing for a while, take a break and sit for a bit. Though unable to stand up and move around, paddlers should sit straight, tighten core muscles, and brace the legs.

Employ proper body mechanics when climbing up and down a ladder. Look ahead at the steps or ladder before you start and keep your legs, arms, and body aligned. Don’t overload your arms — properly grasping the handrail avoids missteps.

Practicing awareness, employing proper posture, performing simple stretches, staying fit, and drinking extra water aren’t very complicated or time-consuming ways to avoid pain and have fun all summer.

This article is not a substitute for individual medical advice. Always consult with a doctor before altering your health regime or undertaking any exercise routine.

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