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Boating with a bad back

boating with a bad back

Clearly, one of the many joys of living in the Ocean State is enjoying the water—ocean and fresh water ponds and rivers. If you’re a boating enthusiast of any kind—sailing, fishing, kayaking, pleasure rides or even day trips to Block Island—a back can be a major impact on your level of enjoyment.

“When you’re out on the water, you spend a lot of time bending, tossing, climbing, stretching and lifting. These types of activities put stress on the back,” said Dr. Michael Zola, president of Chiropractic Society of Rhode Island and a chiropractic physician at the Zola Chiropractic Center in Providence, RI. “If you let little injuries go without treating them properly, you can have much bigger problems down the road.”

Dr. Zola recommends that sailors, jet skiers, boaters, and others water enthusiasts to follow certain body mechanics. For boaters, 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. Remember to engage your abdominal muscles to help support your back.

For paddlers, be sure to sit up straight and that you engage the core muscles in your abdomen to help take some of the stress and strain off your back. Of course, you always want to maintain proper form while on the water and, maybe more importantly, getting out of the water.

“Many of the guidelines for safe boating and padding are things you should be doing when you’re not on the water,” said Dr. Zola.

The safe practices Dr. Zola is referring to includes: bending your knees instead of your back; carrying heavy objects close to your body and never twisting while you’re carrying something, always pivot; and avoid extending your body to reach for something. Also, try not to sit for long periods at a time without changing positions. Stand, if possible, or stretch frequently. “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, a chiropractor is a great resource for adjustments and information,” said Dr. Zola. 

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