6 Steps to Improve Your Low Back Pain and Get You Back to Surfing

6 Steps To Improve Low Back Pain and Get Back To Surfing


Summer is approaching, today is International Surf Day, and my question is... are you in the water surfing as much as you'd like to be? 

Maybe you're a lot like me, recovering from an injury and getting back in the water this summer is on your to-do list. And, if you're anything like other injured surfers - rebuilding confidence, strength, and preventing re-injury are also concerns you may be having. 

Here's the good news! I have an online course coming up this summer, beginning July 1st that is going to help you get back in the line up. We kick off the course with a functional movement screen that will serve as your road map back to the water. Each subsequent week we'll cover these 6-steps to help you build upon your surf wellness program. In addition, we have 3 AWESOME guest speakers coming to talk about wellness issues for surfers such as breath work, Pilates, nutrition, and paddling technique. 

Interested in learning more? Click HERE

Here's an outline of the 6 Steps to Improve Low Back Pain that we'll be using during the course:

Step 1:

Do a self check or screen on dry land to better understand what your movement restrictions are outside of the water.

Why? Well, while bending forwards to touch your toes, or standing tall to extend your spine doesn’t exactly seem like popping up on your board, it’s important to identify just how much movement you have, AND, what does it feel like while you’re doing it.

  • Click HERE to start a basic movement screen process. 

Step 2:

Take inventory of your posture - and no, we’re not talking about balancing books on your head.

A few things to look at:

  • Does your low back arch more (like a sway back), or is the lower part of your back flat?
  • Where do your shoulders naturally want to rest, forwards, neutral or back?

 Step 3:

Determine if you have the ability to do popping-up types of movements when they are broken down into bite-sized chunks, OR, is performing the movement difficult. This checks our ability to see if our brain and body are ‘wired’ well together.

For example: You may have full range of motion in your spine and hips with notable strength, but, when asked to perform a rolling movement pattern, you inadvertently opt to compensate with your shoulders or neck instead of using your hips and spine. This is important because you may be trying to ‘muscle’ your way through certain activities both in and out of the water in inefficient way - setting yourself up for injury.

 Step 4:

Figure out if you’re lacking flexibility.

Return back to your movement screen and think about what each movement felt like. Were the backs of your legs stiff or tight when bending forwards to touch your toes? Did you feel limited by muscle tightness anywhere along the way.

NOTE: Muscle tightness shouldn’t feel symptomatic or painful. It should just be local to the area that is on stretch.  

Once you’ve determined what muscles feel tight, then take steps to develop a stretching program to help you loosen these muscles up. We recommend determining no more than 3 stretches that you’ll feel comfortable performing before and after your surf session or throughout the day.  

Step 5:

Try a few strengthening movement patterns to see if your body feel shaky or wobbly when performing them. If there’s no pain, and you’re able to achieve the exercise position easily, but then have difficulty sustaining the position, chances are there may be a strengthening component that you need to work on.

Similar to your stretching program, we recommend only picking 1 or 2 strengthening exercises to work on at one time so that you can accurately track your progress.  

Step 6:

Once you’re feeling comfortable with your movement, flexibility, and strength, it’s time to add in agility and dynamic stability components to your exercise routine. These types of exercises will work on your reaction time and quickness. For example, if you feel like you’re popping up slowly on your board, and you’ve worked through Steps 1-5, but still struggling, these types of exercises are likely going to help you.

Ready to get started?? Click HERE and learn more about our upcoming summer program!

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