Healing Common Swimming Injuries with Chiropractic Care
Summer is here and one of the best ways to cool off while getting a low-impact workout is swimming.
However, if you’re doing more than your average casual swimmer, then you might be more susceptible to injury.
For example, according to the American Chiropractic Association (ACA), lap and distance swimmers who compete on a high school, collegiate or Olympic level and, to a lesser extent, triathletes, train long and hard, and can easily rack up a few thousand yards during one training session in a pool.
Because these types of athletes swim so often and so hard, they can develop painful repetitive stress or overuse injuries and chronic pain as a result of daily practice, competition, and intense training. In these cases, swimming can put the body under unique biological stresses that it wouldn’t ordinarily experience outside of the water.
Most Common Swimming Injuries
As a result of long hours spent in the water training, there are several different types of injuries that affect swimmers. Here are some of the most common swimming injuries and how to prevent them:
- Headaches and Neck and Upper Back Stiffness, Pain and Injuries: Swimming exacerbates the tendency to move your head forward, resulting in headaches. The strain of keeping your head above water as you swim, the repetition of turning your head to the side to breathe and the risk of overextending your neck while doing flip turns also all result in stiff neck muscles, a slumped neck and posture, and chronic pain. Prevention includes focusing on bilateral breathing and whole body rotation.
- Bicep Tendonitis: This is an inflammation of the bicep tendon. It’s prevented by not overtraining or overextending the biceps.
- Shoulder Instability/Tendonitis or Swimmers’ Shoulder and Rotator Cuff Impingement: Instability occurs when the ball isn’t securely in the socket as a result of fatigued, weakened or inflamed muscles and tendons holding the shoulder in place. The rotator cuff becomes impinged when the shoulder blade rubs against the cuff when the arm is lifted. Exercises such as theraband/theratubing, straight-arm push-ups and seated rows that bring your shoulder blades together strengthen these muscles, tendons, and ligaments and guard against injury.
- Breaststrokers’ or Swimmers’ Knee: This happens when knee tendons and ligaments are over- or misused. Prevention includes always warming up and cooling down before and after your training sessions and practicing different strokes to avoid repetitive motions that can place added strain on the knees.
- Hip Flexor Problems: Hip flexors tighten on swimmers who log a lot of time in the pool, especially among backstrokers. Prevention includes not overtraining and watching your foot positioning in and out of the water.
- Hip Joint Inflammation: Repetitive movement and overuse inflame hip joints, especially among breaststrokers. Again, avoid overtraining, but start cross-training so as not to overtax your hip joints.
- Lumbar Disc Problems and Lower Back Injuries: These injuries are usually seen in butterfly strokers who arch their backs while rising out of the water, thereby placing pressure on the lumbar spine and causing lower back swelling, stiffness, and soreness. Prevention includes stretching after each swim to increase back flexibility and strengthening exercises such as dead lifts and squats.
- Lower Leg (Calf) and Foot Cramping: Cramping is caused by lack of flexibility for the proper foot positioning for kicking and by a high volume of kicking. Prevention includes maintaining adequate hydration levels and increasing flexibility.
- Spondylolysis: This is a stress fracture in the lower back that occurs where the pelvis and spine meet and is caused by the dolphin kick. Prevention includes maintaining proper core strength, hip musculature length, and differentiation between the hip flexors and core.
Chiropractic Care Helps Swimming Injuries
If you’re suffering from one of these injuries or feel you might’ve sustained any other type of musculoskeletal injury as a result of competitive or recreational, but regular swimming, then give Dr. Goldman in Medford a call at (631) 447-2299 today.
Our Medford chiropractor follows evidenced-based treatment protocols that start with diagnostic exams to precisely determine the cause of your pain. Dr. Goldman also helps with conditioning and exercises to enhance speed and flexibility, adjustments to extend the range of motion and modifications to strengthen balance and improve posture and alignment.
Studies have shown regular chiropractic care helps athletes heal quickly and properly, lessening pain, shrinking inflammation and allowing them to jump back into the pool sooner.