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Back Pain and Boating: The Hull Truth

By Sara Butler

Boating may be one of the best summertime activities out there, but it can take a toll on your back. Instead of investing in 55-gallon drums of pain relief cream, it may be a good idea to keep these things in mind next time you’re out on the water!

Why Boating Can Cause Back Pain

People who love to get out on the water in their boats spend a lot of time bending, tossing, climbing, stretching and lifting. All of these activities can put a lot of stress and strain on the back, and if you let little injuries go without treating them properly, they can turn into much bigger problems down the road.

As a boater, it’s important to pay attention to your body when you’re out on the water and just generally be body-conscious. You also need to be aware of your posture when you’re on the boat. If you pay attention and focus on your posture you can greatly reduce your risk of injury or reduce the risk of reinjuring yourself.

Body Boating Mechanics

There are a few basic principles every boater should be aware of, principles that if applied and followed can have a huge impact on your health and wellness. If you are in rough waters, or you see a wake fast approaching your boat, you need to bend your knees in order to help absorb some of the shock. You should also engage your abdominal muscles to help support your back.

If you like to kayak or paddle on a dinghy, you need to make sure you are sitting up straight and that your core muscles in your abdomen are engaged to help take some of the stress and strain off your back. Proper form on a paddle craft can make a huge difference in how you feel after you get out of the water.

Boating can also include sitting and standing for long periods of time. You need to be aware of this and make sure you change positions frequently. If possible, move around a bit too in order to get your muscles moving and the blood flowing. If you don’t have much space on your vessel, you can just stand up when sitting or sit down when standing in order to give stiff muscles a bit of a rest.

You should never try to overextend your body to reach for something and you should also avoid twisting. Follow the basic principles you would for any situation on dry land and make sure you bend your knees instead of your back. Carry heavy objects close to your body and never twist while you’re carrying something, always pivot.

If you have an injury you need to deal with from boating or simply need more information on how to stay safe and healthy during your outings, your chiropractor is a great resource! Head over to The Joint Chiropractic, which is your local chiropractor!

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