Category: Spine | Author: Stefano Sinicropi
Schools are out and summer is in full swing, and if you’re like most people, you’re going to try to beat the heat by the water this season. Water-based activities are a great way to stay cool when the temperatures rise, but they also can present our spine with unique challenges. Below, we share some water safety tips to help protect your spine this summer.
Never Dive without Knowing the Depth
Pools are often marked to show their depth, but you can’t say the same for lakes and rivers. Never dive into water without knowing if it’s deep enough to safely jump in without hitting the bottom. Diving injuries can have lifelong consequences, so also test the depth before you dive.
Proper Swim Techniques
Most people use the standard front stroke while swimming, but improper front stroke form can hyperextend your neck and lumbar spine. When swimming, keep your body level and your neck straight, and take a break if you feel like your form is becoming sloppy.
Before you jump in the water or throw on the water skis, take five minutes to stretch and let your muscles warm up. This can help keep you from pulling a muscle or straining your back when you’re swimming or skiing behind the boat.
If you’re going to be skiing and performing stunts, or you’re trying out the new wakeboard, be sure to wear a helmet. Wakeboarders are at an elevated risk for concussion and whiplash injuries that can affect the cervical spine. Protective headgear may not be able to prevent all injuries, but they can help to minimize the effects of trauma.
Even though you’re surrounded by water, it’s important that you drink plenty of water if you’re going to be out in the sun all day. Staying hydrated can help to prevent cramps and spinal muscle strains, so pack plenty of water if you’re going to be out on the water for hours.
Improve Your Core
One way to protect your spine from injuries on the water is to improve your core muscles when you’re not at the lake. Your core helps to stabilize and support your spine, so the more you improve your core, the stronger your spine will be when you’re skiing or swimming.