Skating is a prevalent activity that takes place mainly during winter. You might be skating for fun or as a sport, but you should always avoid back pain whatever reason you’re doing it. Even if you do not live in an area with a lot of ice and snow, you can always ice skate indoors. However, most skaters face joint problem-back pain. Back pain mostly affects regular ice skaters. Many might consider visiting physiotherapists in Singapore, but you can also avoid injuries on your own. This article will look at the most common back injuries from skating and how to prevent them.
Most Common Back Injuries
Competitive figure skaters are the most susceptible to back pains, but casual ice skaters are also culprits. Common back injuries among all ice skaters are:
1. Lower Back Strain
Both casual ice skaters and competitive figure skaters experience this problem. When having a lower back strain, your lower back tends to stress a lot since it tries to maintain body balance as you skate. If you are skating with a wrong posture or if your core and back muscles are not properly conditioned, you will end up having strained muscles. Strained muscles can also be as a result of falling.
2. Spondylolysis- Stress Fractures
Spondylolysis occurs as a result of overuse and mainly affects the lower spine. Since the injury involves the lower back when it stresses a lot, this type is most common in competitive figure skaters. Some maneuvers will require the spine to hyperextend- this can also cause stress fractures. The symptoms of a stress fracture injury may be confused for lower back strain symptoms.
Preventing Skating Injuries
Back pain while ice skating makes you uncomfortable. While avoiding injuries is almost inevitable, you can take steps to decrease the occurrence of injuries. Below are some tips you should always keep in mind when ice skating.
If you are not adequately trained, never try any trick. Most competitive figure skaters are taught different maneuvers and tricks by professional coaches. However, it would be best if you always mastered the trick before practicing it. You might think a scheme looks easy, but once you try it, you get hurt.
Are your core muscles strong? If you have strong core muscles, you are advantaged. Not only will strong core muscles help in maintaining your balance, but it will also help in supporting your spine when you are skating. Besides, strong core muscles reduce the risk of having a lower back strain.
Always remember to stretch before lacing up the skates if you want to avoid back pain while ice skating. If you ice skate with tight muscles, you are making yourself more prone to injuries. As you stretch your back, also focus on the quadriceps and hamstrings. By stretching, you will be reducing the strain on your lower back. Warming up before ice skating helps a lot. By warming up, you will be maintaining the flexibility and strength of your back. When warming up and stretching, pay special attention to your back and core muscles. The two muscles make up the natural corset for the spinal column. Irrespective of the cause of your backache, the muscles next to the painful area will always contract—the muscles contract as a reflex to protect themselves. The additional contraction can lead to even more back pain while ice skating since the posture muscles will be needed for more blood.
Learn and practice the correct form of skating. Poor posture and balance may lead to low back strain as you skate. If you want to be a regular ice skater, consider getting an instructor who will walk you through and teach you the correct form of skating.
When skating, try to be as straight as you can. You might feel awkward since you might be used to skating as you bend from the waist, but once you get comfortable, it becomes easier and makes you less prone to back injuries. By standing as you ice skate, you will be building a more robust muscle endurance for the lower back. Also, standing helps in distributing weight all over and reduces strain on your back.
Is your stick long enough? If your answer was no, you should get a longer stick immediately. Long sticks that fit well help you to avoid back pain injuries. When wearing your skates and with your stick on your front, your toe will always be on the ground. The stick should always be in parallel sides with your body for balance. This is why it should be long enough- a right stick should be at the same level as your chin.
To what extent are you bending your knees? On most occasions, skaters compensate knee bend with excessive back bending. This is wrong and will make you experience back injuries more frequently. Besides having an upright posture, always ensure you have a right knee bend. If you fail to bend your knee when skating, your back will naturally bend since the body wants to achieve balance. If you have completed to bend your knees, now try working on positioning your chest up.
Don’t be in conflict with your body. It would help if you always respected the natural position and shape of your body even as you ice skate. Don’t try to modify your position too much since you will be using a lot of energy to be efficient. Instead, as you ice skate, have an aerodynamic position. Ensure your core muscles are active, and your pelvis is well fixed if you want to avoid back pain injuries.
Start small. Just like everything else, skating can be overwhelming to some extent. If you skate for longer distances at first, your lumbar muscles will become stressed. If you go back for training the following day, the muscles will try to relax and will become very painful. To start with, skate for kilometers for your muscles to get used then expand to longer distances. Also, remember to skate if you want to avoid back pain injuries and your back to be progressively reinforced regularly.
Skating is an activity that you will enjoy since you have fun as you remain active. To avoid back pain injuries when ice skating, follow the above tips.