This time of year, we see an increase in people coming to see us for new episodes of back pain. These often follow a similar sort of story- carrying heavy bags of Christmas shopping, twisting awkwardly bringing the decorations down from the attic, or falling off ladders putting up festive lights.
If you’re struggling with back pain at Christmas, there are a few simple things that you can do to help yourself recover from an acute episode of back pain.
Living and working in Emsworth and Langstone, you’ll know that sailing is an inherent part of our community here (so much so, we’ve included some photos taken by Philippa of our lovely harbour!) As such, it’s not uncommon for us to be treating professional or recreational sailors in clinic, and whether you compete professionally or just enjoy a turn about the Solent, sailing poses as much a risk of injury as with any sport.Sailors often compete in extremely difficult conditions, battling high winds and rough seas, and as such the risk of injury during sailing is 8.6 per 1000 hours sailing when training, and 2.2/1000 otherwise. In a study on the 2003 America’s Cup, researchers found that the upper limb was the most commonly injured body segment (40%), followed by the spine and neck (30%), and the most common injuries were joint/ligament sprains (27%) and tendinopathies (20%). (1)
Who is at risk of injury?
Mastmen are at greatest risk of acute injuries, helmsmen most commonly injury the upper-limb through steering, whilst grinders and bowmen are at the greatest risk of injury from repetitive strains. High repetition activities such as hiking, pumping, grinding and sterring are major causes of overuse injury, even in the most experienced of sailors. Windsurfers are also frequently admitted to hospital suffering from chronic lower back injuries as a result of “pumping” the sail.
It’s not just the professionals who are at risk of injury, as novice and recreational sailors commonly encounter acute injuries such as contusions or abrasions after colliding with the boom or other equipment whilst performing manoeuvres. (1) Not only that, but there are other perils to consider: tripping over ropes, winches and cleats; being swept overboard or falling down open hatches!
How and why do sailing injuries occur?
[clickToTweet tweet=”What are the main contributors to #sailing #injuries? Find out here! #Chiropractic” quote=”The main contributors to sailing injuries are: Heavy weather (23%), tacking (17%), jibing (13%), sail change (12%) and alcohol (7%)”]
Injuries may result from a lack of general fitness, overuse, overtraining, or macrotraumatic accidents.
Lack of warming up, stretching, and cooling down may also increase the risk of injury.
Muscles are placed at high risk when performing explosive, powerful moves, such as those frequently required when sailing.
Shoulder and arm injuries are common through constant handling of the mainsheet, and the sudden, strong movements in hiking may lead to back and knee problems. (Remember Sir Ben Ainslie’s back injury? This was caused by repetitive, high strain hiking out!)
Inadequate leg strength and poor hiking technique are thought to predispose the knee to injury.
Boats can be difficult to navigate around and result in crew members having to adopt awkward positions, often resulting in rotating, hyperextending, locking, or twisting of joints.
Postural problems are common in the majority of the population, and these inherent issues can lend themselves to musculoskeletal problems.
Poor fitness training may exacerbate common muscular imbalances associated with changing forces on opposing muscle groups while sailing.
If ignored, it is easy for these issues to progress into a chronic problem, the possible severity of which could impact on your participation and enjoyment in the sport.
So what can be done about it? Five simple steps to avoiding sailing injuries!
A robust exercise regime is crucial, which should focus on all aspects of physical fitness in order to ensure that your body can cope with the demands of sailing.
– Cardiovascular training
– Strength training (Competitive sailors should undergo regular health screening with specific strengthening of high-risk muscle groups, synergists and stabilizers. )
– Flexibility training
– Core stability training
– For more advice on bespoke rehabilitation plans, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our Langstone clinic.
Research has shown that aerobic training and fitness is directly related to an improved reaction speed to wind shifts, as well as enhanced endurance, decision making, and concentration, particularly in the later stages of races. Mental and physical recovery is faster for those who are physically fit. Suggested types of aerobic exercise that are most appropriate for sailors are rowing, cycling, swimming, stair climbing, or running.(3)/li>
Regular checkups can help ensure joint movement and function is maintained, as well as provide an opportunity for assessment of joint strength and function. Not only will this help reduce the risk of developing injuries, but it can also speed up recovery should you become injured.
Technical skill and expertise is important– if your technique needs improvement, seek out advice and informed coaching to help minimise the risk of developing an injury as a result of poor technique.
Taking frequent breaks and changing positions during long periods of sailing. This will help prevent postural stresses and strains from occurring and is a healthy spinal habit we all should follow.
Whilst we have focused on musculoskeletal injuries, there are a number of other safety measures to take into consideration. Above all, always wear a life jacket when sailing. In the UK, there were 35 sailing or water-sport related deaths at sea in 2014 alone. Safety at sea should always be taken seriously.
1. Neville, V., Folland, J.P. (2009) The epidemiology and aetiology of injuries in sailing. Sports Medicine. 39(2) 129-145.
2. Nathanson, Mello, Baird “Sailing Injuries and Illness – Results of an Internet-based survey” Wild Env Med 2010
3. Allen, J.B., De Jong, M.R. (2006) Sailing and sports medicine: A literature review. British Journal of Sports Medicine. 40(7) 587-593.
Next week marks National Men’s Health week from the 15th -21st June 2015 and this year focuses on healthy living.
There are a variety of focuses for mens health this year, primarily on the difficulties of healthy living that are currently challenging men today. These cover a range of points, including looking after relationships and wellbeing, smoking, drinking, fitness, weight and the NHS health check.
Get your MAN-MOT or woMAN-MOT today.
It is widely thought that men, compared to women, are less likely to lead a healthy lifestyle, leading to and creating a higher risk of serious diseases such as cancer, heart disease and strokes. The mens health manifesto challenges men and healthcare providers on these issues.
ONE MAN IN FIVE DIES BEFORE THE AGE OF 65 – TOGETHER WE CAN CHANGE THAT. (Mens Health Forum, UK 2015)
It is important (for anyone) to seek professional advice before embarking on a new healthy regime, diet or fitness routine to prevent new injury or old injuries flaring up. Seek advice on nutrition to ensure you are eating enough to keep you going and don’t overlook the role this will have in motivating you to maintain this exciting new fitness routine you have chosen to take up (everyone loves “cheat” day!). Our advice is to start slow, and give yourself manageable goals. The best way to achieve this is to make small changes to your everyday routine that will make huge impacts to your current lifestyle. For example, swap out one unhealthy element of your meal, for a healthier version- why not try sweet potato instead of regular chips!
When making changes to your activity levels, it is important to wear sensible shoes and suitable clothing to make sure you feel comfortable (you don’t have to spend mega bucks, just make sure your clothing is activity-appropriate) – and drink more water! First off – make achievable goals such as – walk ten minutes around the block after every meal, and then build on these goals by increasing the time or distance. Make changes with friends, colleagues or with the entire family to help keep you motivated. Buy, hire or borrow a bike! Borrow a friends dog! Go swimming (Don’t borrow swimming trunks or bikinis though!) Join a fitness class or go salsa dancing and meet some new people!
If you do acquire a new injury, apply an ice pack on the affected area wrapped in a tea-towel to help reduce swelling and inflammation; in return this helps quicken the healing process. You can also take paracetamol to reduce the pain and swelling. If an old injury has flared up, please consult a health care professional. The best advice we can give for injuries is injury prevention!
Listening to your body and reading the signs can significantly reduce the risk of serious illness and disease as you are more likely to visit a health care professional who is trained to recognise symptoms and can refer you for appropriate treatment. It is important when starting a new regime that you keep motivated so it is even more important to prevent injury. As a chiropractor, we explain to our patient
s that just like brushing your teeth is good dental hygeine, adding simple stretches into your daily routine is good “spinal hygiene!” Keeping flexible and mobile will significantly reduce the risk of injury (or tooth decay in the case of dental hygiene). In turn, daily stretches will also improve your posture, increase your mobility, strength, balance, coordination and general wellbeing. If you are getting the entire family involved in this new fitness regime, then we highly recommend parents teaching the younger generation to take care of their backs through simple exercises. Ever heard of a spine transplant? Neither have we! We only have one spine, with limited possibilities of repairing or replacing it – so take care of the one you have. Above all, prevention is better than cure, especially in the case of back pain. As part of the care we give our patients, we have specially adapted resources to help manage and/or prevent back pain or injury. We’ve got your back!
As part of men’s health week – Why not get a Man-MOT or woMAN-MOT today with your award-winning Emsworth Chiropractor Philippa Oakley. Phone the clinic on 01243 379693 to book your appointment today. If you are unsure whether chiropractic can help you please call or email our principal chiropractor Philippa Oakley on email@example.com.
Happy birthday to us! This month (May 2015) we are celebrating our first year in business, and what a year it has been!
Thank you to everyone who has supported us including Acorn Creative, Hampshire Health, Innovations Fitness, The Emsworth Business Association, The Emsworth Residents Association and many more!
We have had a truly incredible year, the highlight of which was obtaining two national awards from the Royal College of Chiropractors. This was a truly wonderful moment and recognised our committment to effective, evidence-based healthcare which is centred around our patients’ needs.
We have loved meeting so many wonderful new faces who have welcomed us in to your community in Emsworth, and are looking forward to meeting many more of you in year two!
To celebrate, we have put together a video of the highlights from our first year which we hope you will enjoy – and here’s to the future.