February 2016 Physio Tips
February Physio Tips
Ben Heath, Activate Physiotherapy & Pilates
Lower back pain affects many people; swimmers training at high volume will most likely experience some degree of lower back pain or tightness. Additionally, paddlers may experience some lower back pain either during the lead up to the swim or on the day.
Usually the pain is a result of poor core control, causing increased load on the lumbar spine and surrounding muscles. If the core does not have enough endurance or ability to activate, the swimmer will find that the legs or hips will sit lower in the water, creating an increased curve in the lower back.
Improving the core is not only important for the swimmer but those doing the paddling as well!
Some additional ways the paddler can help prevent lower back pain is ensuring there is adequate support for the lower back on the craft and the feet are positioned to allow for a slight bend in the knees. The paddler should also ensure that they are sitting up on the sitting bones, rather than the tailbone, to position the lumbar spine in a neutral position.
Some exercises to assist with preventing back pain:
Fit ball legs:
Lying on your back, with legs up on a fit ball, slowly rotate legs towards the right, to the point where you just start to feel the lower back lifting off the ground. Slowly return to the centre and repeat towards the left. Try to avoiding holding your breath whilst you do this one, breathe in as you take the legs to the side and out as you return to the centre. Repeat 10x to each side.
Lying along a foam roller/bolster, with hands placed on hips, slowly lift one leg up to 90 degrees and return to ground, repeat with the other leg. Try to maintain still balance. To make this easier, position feet further apart, to make more challenging, have feet closer together. Repeat 10x each side.
Spiky ball piriformis:
Rest one ankle on opposite knee, place a spiky ball under the glute area. Use arms and the bent leg to roll the hips from side to side until tension is released. Repeat other side for approximately 1 minute.