A few weeks ago, our clinic was honoured to be a part of the GWN Sport Regatta Dragonboat event at Marilyn Bell Park. Not only did we have the opportunity to connect and educate paddlers on their posture but we were also excited to witness one of our patients win a medal with his team (Go Jie!).
Many of the paddlers we spoke with shared very similar health concerns:
These types of health conditions are very common amongst paddlers given the movements involved with the paddling itself. The paddling stroke involves repetitive trunk (torso) flexion and rotation followed by extension and de-rotation. In addition, overhead arm abduction and flexion and then extension takes place to complete the stroke. At rates averaging 70 strokes per minute, these movements, done repetitively over a short duration of time, place a huge amount of stress on the muscles and joints of the lower back, hips and shoulder, leading to pain, soreness and stiffness.
These are a few things paddlers can do to help prevent these problems from occurring:
1. Incorporate psoas (hip flexor) stretches into your exercise regimen/training. This is one of the main muscles that will actively contract when paddlers flex (bend) their trunk forward. Because this muscle is primarily designed to flex the hip, and not the trunk, its overuse causes more susceptibility to hip and lower back pain.
2. Always remember to come to an upright position when finishing your stroke. Ending in a forward flexed posture repetitively with each stroke places a lot of strain on your hip flexors and entire back.
3. Get your spinal alignment checked. Any type of repetitive movement will cause joint dysfunction/subluxation and tight muscles which over time, leads to poor posture. Chiropractic adjustments help to gently restore the joint motion in your spine to allow for greater ease of movement when paddling and the proper posture to do so!
Yours in health,
Dr. Clarise Chan, B.Sc. (Hons), DC