How to Prevent Water Sports Injuries

Whether you’re a outdoor sports enthusiast, a dabbler, or a full-blown adrenaline junkie, you’ve likely been trying to fit in plenty of active fun in the sun while the weather permits. For some, this may mean relaxing on the shore of your favorite lake or beach, and for others, it may mean taking advantage of water sport season.

While a great form of exercise during the summer months, like any activity, water sports can be dangerous without necessary precautions. Even if you consider yourself a seasoned pro, it is critical to prepare for the safest possible session on your waterskis, wakeboard, surfboard, jet ski, kayak, or other watercraft.

What to Do Before Hitting the Water:

Water sport injury prevention is just as much what you do outside of the water as what you do in it. Here are a few tips on what to do before you get into the water to save you a world of potential trouble in the future.

Hydration is essential for the body in general, but it is particularly important during exercise and heat, and you’ll be experiencing both while out on the water in the summertime. The musculoskeletal system works best when it is hydrated, so drink up to prevent muscle cramping, tears, and strains.

Stretching lowers the likelihood of injury on land and in the water. Do some dynamic warm-ups before practicing any sport, specifically focusing on mobility in the ankles, calves, and neck.

Inspect your gear to double check that everything is functioning as it should be. Rogue binding or loose screws can cause major problems down the line if they go unnoticed.

Make sure your helmet is secure. A good rule of thumb: if you’re practicing a sport in which you’d even pause to consider wearing a helmet, you definitely should strap one on. Many people assume that water makes for a softer landing. In fact, water essentially turns to concrete above 15 mph, putting you at high risk for concussions. Wear protective headgear anytime you can, and be sure to replace it after a big fall if necessary.

What to Do While in the Water:

Once you’ve completed a good warm-up session and secured your protective gear, it’s time to play! Just remember to keep your safety in mind at all times, and try not to get caught up in going too hard, too fast. Here are a few things you can do to prevent injuries once you’re in — or on — the water.

Choose your surrounding area carefully. Even if you take all the other precautions on this list, your surrounding environment can also cause injuries if you don’t scout it carefully. Avoid areas that are overly crowded. While you may know what you’re doing, someone else may not, which could result in their injuring you by accident. Know where you’re getting in and out of the water, and make sure you verify how deep it is before leaping in.

Pay attention to the weather. Summer weather is often agreeable, but there’s always a risk of a summer storm or high winds. Pay attention to what’s going on around you, so you don’t end up in the middle of a body of water when inclement weather hits. If anything seems off, head for land sooner rather than later.

Be realistic. Know your experience level and practice accordingly. If you’re a novice, take it slow and progress gradually instead of rushing ahead several steps. When people try moves they aren’t prepared for, injuries tend to occur.

Despite our best planning, accidents can happen — regardless of experience level. If you sustain an injury, even a seemingly minor one, seek treatment from a sports injury expert as soon as possible. Spencer Chiropractic Center has the experience necessary to provide the care you need for recovery… and to get you back into your chosen sport as soon as possible!

How to Maintain a Healthy and Strong Body This Summer

Summer means spending time with friends and family. Mind and body become rejuvenated as you can finally spend time comfortably outdoors, soak up some vitamin D, and be active. However, if you neglect to take care of your body, you may wind up spending more time indoors than you’d like. Here are a few basic tips to keep your body strong and healthy this season so you can enjoy every minute.

1. Stay hydrated

Drink water, water, and more water. Especially when temperatures rise, your body loses more water than you think, even when you’re just moving around completing daily tasks. Try to carry a reusable water bottle with you at all times, so you can hydrate all day long. Proper hydration helps you sustain your energy and enhances muscle function and body temperature regulation.

2. Enjoy the sun (with SPF)

By all means, get outside and soak up the vitamin D you missed out on during the winter months. However, it is absolutely critical to protect your skin when doing so. Treat sunscreen as an essential accessory that you wear at all times. Apply SPF 30 or higher regularly throughout the day, even when you’re not laying out on the beach or by the pool.

3. Know when to be active and when to rest

Summer is the perfect time for outdoor sports and exercise! For those with joint pain, look into water sports that are more gentle on your body. Otherwise, get out there and get your sweat on! As we all know by now, regular exercise is essential to remain healthy and happy. In order to avoid overexerting yourself, it’s just as important to pair regular exercise with some R&R.

4. Visit a chiropractor

Your chiropractor is your partner in health. We can help you stay active and healthy by correcting problems before they become serious issues, and even by boosting your immune system. Throughout peak vacation season, chiropractic treatment can help prevent aches and pains, ultimately allowing you to enjoy your trip (and feel more at ease during a cramped road trip or long flight, when stiff joints can become a real comfort killer!).

What Is Subluxation and How Does It Impact Your Health?

dr phillip spencer examining patient xray

Many people who experience chronic symptoms or discomfort seek chiropractic treatment before they’ve ever heard the term “subluxation.” The issue, while not inherently severe, can have far-reaching impacts on your overall wellbeing and quality of life. Thankfully, a chiropractor can help correct misalignments with manual adjustments, improving the subluxation reducing your symptoms.

What is subluxation?

In the simplest terms, subluxation occurs when one of your back bones, called vertebrae, slips out of alignment. This can put considerable pressure on the disc between vertebrae, on your spinal cord, or on your nerves, resulting in pain, discomfort, and other health issues. A number of different factors can cause subluxation, including poor posture when standing or sitting at work, inadequate spinal support, sleeping position, repetitive motions, sudden trauma, birth, and weak spinal muscles.

Subluxation impacts your nervous system’s ability to fully function and regulate your body. When nerves or the spinal cord are pinched or impeded, your health can suffer. Depending on the cause of the subluxation, changes to your lifestyle, including your sleep habits or posture while at work, may be necessary for long-term relief. Chiropractic care can help reduce symptoms while simultaneously improving your posture and alignment.

How subluxation impacts your overall health

Your brain (and by extension, your spinal cord) controls everything in your body. When your spinal cord or nearby nerves are pinched or under pressure, it can affect your health in a variety of ways. Some of the most common symptoms are back and extremity pain and headaches. If untreated, however, a subluxation can intensify and have a profound impact on your overall health.

In some cases, untreated subluxations result in high stress levels, and your immune system is usually the first to take the hit. Decreased immune function, combined with increased pain and mobility issues, can aggravate other issues. Even internal organs can be adversely affected by poor nerve function if the subluxation isn’t promptly treated.

As you might guess, even if you don’t suffer from a known subluxation, it’s important to visit your chiropractor for regular treatment to ensure proper alignment and avoid a world of potential health issues.

Can Chiropractic Care Help Spring Allergy Flare-Ups?

Most of us know that chiropractic care can help people with chronic pain, joint issues, and alignment or posture problems. But did you know some patients also report relief from allergy symptoms? With spring underway, millions of Americans are struggling with seasonal allergies and irritation caused by airborne pollen.

Due to high pollen counts in many areas around the nation, doctors are predicting a busy allergy season this year. Whether you’re already struggling with allergy symptoms or are prone to seasonal flare-ups, it may be time to make a chiropractic appointment.

What Causes Allergy Issues?

The nuanced ins and outs of how allergies work are still debated. One of the more common beliefs is that increased susceptibility to allergic reactions to environmental factors may be linked to high levels of mental and emotional stress. Both stress and allergies create similar inflammation in the body, and heightened stress can increase your body’s reaction to allergens.

This issue may be tied to cortisol — a hormone that fights inflammation. The body produces excess cortisol and wears out the glands when under prolonged stress, interfering with its natural ability to reduce inflammation.

It is also possible that allergy symptoms are affected by miscommunication between the spine and brain. If a spinal bone is misaligned, inflammation can result. The brain then receives signals that may create allergy-like symptoms. While there is a lack of concrete medical studies linking chiropractic care to reduced allergy symptoms, many chiropractic professionals report an improvement in their patients’ allergies while under chiropractic care.

How Does Chiropractic Care Reduce Allergy Symptoms?

Chiropractic care can help improve quality of life for allergy sufferers in a number of ways. Patients who receive hands-on therapies such as those administered during a chiropractic care regimen often report reduced levels of stress and muscular tension. This can help your body better regulate its responses to allergens. Additionally, sometimes subluxation of the spine can cause issues similar to those created by allergies. Regular adjustments can help correct subluxation, improve communication between the spine and brain, and even strengthen your immune system.

Your chiropractor can also help you make lifestyle and diet changes that could reduce allergic reactions and inflammation. Combine that with reduced stress hormones, allowing your body to naturally combat inflammation, and there is the potential for serious relief. If medications alone aren’t controlling your allergy symptoms, chiropractic care may help you get them under control.

How to Relieve Neck Pain Between Chiropractic Treatments

There’s a reason we call things that are stressful or irritating a “pain in the neck”: neck pain can be a persistent drain on your energy and overall quality of life. Seeking regular chiropractic treatment is one of the most effective ways to reduce ongoing neck pain. While your sessions will serve to mitigate symptoms, any discomfort that creeps up between visits can be managed at home until your next treatment with a few simple tricks.

One of the best ways you can ensure your own neck comfort, other than using proper support for prolonged seated postures at work and beyond, is to practice sufficient head and neck support when you sleep at night. Start by trying to sleep on your side and back and aim for a neutral spine position. Avoid sleeping on your stomach, as this can place extra pressure on your neck.

You may also want to invest in a memory foam pillow that will support your head and honor the natural curve of your neck. We are asleep for a third of each day, on average, so be kind to your neck at bedtime!

Small Changes Can Make a Big Impact

Did you know the padding between vertebrae can compress when you’re dehydrated? Monitor your daily water intake to ensure your body remains hydrated, which is essential to support critical bodily processes and structures from nerves and soft tissue to bones and so much more.

Also consider how you hold your cellphone or work phone. Do you tilt and pinch it between your ear and shoulder rather than manually holding it to your upright head? If so, this habit could contribute substantially to pain and tension in your neck and shoulders.

If possible, ask for an ergonomic chair at work. A chair with added neck support can help absorb pressure otherwise placed on your neck and shoulders, while proper lumbar support will encourage neutral spinal alignment while you sit.

Finally, get moving… in some water! Submerging your body up to the chin and gently moving your neck can be an excellent means of low-impact movement. The warmer the water, the better it will be for muscle relaxation.

Simple Exercises Can Reduce Symptoms

Whether the source is stress or a traumatic injury, neck pain is typically a sign of a deeper issue. You can help improve your symptoms by completing certain exercises at home. For example, if your neck is stiff and sore, try to slowly roll your shoulders down and back ten times. You may also want to sit upright and gently roll your shoulders backward, as if you’re trying to hold a pencil between your shoulder blades. Repeat this ten times (just remember to move slowly and avoid pushing your limits too far!). Finally, try slowly touching your ear to your shoulder ten times on each side.

If your neck pain remains significant with a few at-home tweaks, you may be waiting too long between chiropractic sessions. Talk to your chiropractor to discuss your optimal treatment plan and frequency, and you’ll be on your way to symptom-free comfort!