Scuba diving is a fun way to explore waterways. It also has some impressive health benefits, like improving blood circulation and increasing muscle strength. However, scuba diving requires divers to wear heavy equipment and adjust their body in certain positions, something which can cause back pain.
If you want to avoid and relieve back pain, you’ll want to check out this article written by the founder and trusted chiropractor of Better Health Anchorage. Below you’ll find a handful of chiropractor-approved tips you can use to prevent it.
What Causes Back Pain When Scuba Diving?
Scuba divers tend to suffer from back pain for a few reasons. One of the most common issues is because of a lack of poor posture or wrong lifting and diving techniques. If you sit incorrectly, it can put pressure on your spine, especially when you’re wearing all of your heavy gear. In addition to this, if you haul your equipment wrong or awkwardly dive into the water, it can shift your spine. This could cause it to press on surrounding nerves. The heavy equipment could cause muscle strain in even the fittest scuba divers.
Some scuba divers might have back pain because of an injury, including decompression sickness. Decompression occurs when the pressure around you decreases as you sink into the water. If there’s too much decompression, it could cause nitrogen in your bloodstream and tissues to form bubbles. These bubbles can cause many dangerous side effects, including muscle weakness. This could result in you twisting your back or suffering from a slipped disc as you try to fix the decompression.
6 Ways to Relieve Back Pain From/After Scuba Diving
One way to relieve back pain after scuba diving is to exercise. Exercising will stretch your spine which can release tension. It will also encourage your blood to send fresh nutrients to injured areas so they heal faster.
Some of the best exercises to heal and prevent scuba diving are side planks, leg drops, and the cobra pose.
Side planks work to strengthen your core.
To begin, lie facedown on the floor. Prop your body up with your forearms. Make sure your forearms are aligned with your shoulders as it will prevent tension in the surrounding muscles. Tilt your body to the left as you balance it on your left forearm and so that your body makes a straight line. Hold for 20 seconds. Return to the original position and repeat on your right side.
Legs drops can keep your leg muscles strong, something which is important for lifting heavy equipment.
The first step is to lie on your back while placing your hands behind your head. Lift your legs up toward the ceiling as straight as you can. As you do so, gently tilt your head forward. Take a deep breath and then lower your head and legs. Continue about five more times.
This yoga pose can help keep your spine healthy while tightening your core.
To begin, lie facedown on the floor while keeping your arms straight by your side. Bend your arms and use your palms to lift your upper body up. Make sure your legs are aligned behind you. Hold for a few seconds and then release.
Use Correct Weight Distribution
Weights are used for helping scuba divers ascend and descend easily into the water. Besides this, they help you to keep your balance when swimming. Despite their usefulness, incorrect distribution can make it difficult for you to swim correctly. It could also put strain on your back because it’s trying to shift the weights to a comfortable position.
To help you properly distribute weight around your body, consider using a scuba harness. This harness attaches to a belt that you can put the weights in.
Remember, you never want to increase the weight amount. If you feel that something is too heavy or too light, you need to adjust them to different positions.
Avoid Pike and Tuck Dives
The pike and tuck dives cause flexion, something which can lead to a spinal disc injury. Both of these positions require you to bend your knees and legs toward your chest. As you do so, you must use your legs and lower back to thrust your body into the water. While easy to do, they can put strain on your spine because of the impact your body makes with the water.
Ideally, avoid doing these dives. Instead of flipping back toward the water, consider sliding your legs first into the water. This will reduce heavy impact against your spine.
Don’t Swim in Strong Currents
If you have back pain, it’s best to stay away from strong currents. These powerful surges can make it harder for you to swim and can put pressure against your body. This can make your back pain worse because you’ll need to adjust your body against the currents. Due to this, you’ll want to do your best to stay away from strong currents until your body has healed.
Try Chiropractic Care
You could also consider using chiropractic care for back pain. By doing various adjustments around your spine, a chiropractor will make sure that the vertebrae are aligned. They’ll also help loosen up tight muscles to keep you flexible.
Utilize Correct Lifting Techniques
As mentioned above, one of the most common culprits of back pain for scuba divers is poor lifting techniques. Many divers bend their back to pick up heavy tanks and rely on their arms and back muscles to hoist them up. It’s important to not use this lifting posture because it will cause muscle strain, especially in your lower back.
You should only use your legs to lift heavy objects, not your back. To properly lift heavy objects, squat down next to them, grasp onto them with your hands, and then use your legs to push your body up.
Scuba diving is a great way to keep your body active, but it needs to be done correctly if you want to avoid injuries. These chiropractor-approved tips will ensure that you’re able to strengthen your body to protect it from back pain.