With experts’ again predicting warmer than average temperatures for the holiday season, it’s expected thousands will flock to the nearest beach to escape the summer heat.
With this warmer weather chiropractors are warning amateur surfers to take care when hitting the waves or risk developing ‘surfer’s spine’.
President of the Chiropractors’ Association of Australia (NSW), Dr Joseph Ierano said as many amateur surfers get ready to take advantage of the summer holidays, they need to be aware that going from the desk to the water can put a lot of strain on your body.
“Surfers spine can occur when people who don’t exercise regularly go out surfing for long periods over the break without the correct warm-up routine. All the time spent paddling with the neck hyperextended can cause pain and stiffness in the neck and across the shoulders as well as lower back problems.”
Dr Alfie Arcidiacono, a chiropractor on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, said problems often arise when people who are generally sedentary in their office jobs attempt to revisit their youth by taking up surfing again. His team currently provides treatment to professional surfers Laura Enever and Tom Carroll.
“They may have surfed when they were 15 or 20 but their bodies unfortunately aren’t the same. Plus working 40 hours in an office means they are accustomed to a lot of stiffness in the back, which contributes to the lower back sprains and strains that we often see.”
Further north at holiday hotspot Byron Bay, chiropractor and long-time regular surfer Dr Pete Wuehr said he sees a spike in surfing related injuries this time of year, with both amateurs and professionals flocking to the beaches to enjoy the warmer weather.
“This includes elite level pro surfers, recreational surfers and non-beach goers from overseas.
The experts often test their body to the limit by tackling the bigger waves with radical manoeuvers. Weekend warriors and beginners surf smaller waves which break in shallower water, so impact with the ocean floor is always a factor.”
“The novice surfers around Byron often get injuries from impacts with other surfers or with the sand. Because of time restraints they’ll often surf in less than ideal conditions.
Dr Ierano stressed the importance of a proper warm-up in preventing injury.
“While it is great to see people maximising their exercise during summer, it is important to recognise your limits and seek treatment early in order to get the most out of the surfing season.”
The Chiropractors’ Association of Australia (NSW) released the following tips for avoiding injury when hitting the surf:
- Performing a warm-up before engaging in activity can help to reduce the risk of injury
- Stretch after exercise to improve flexibility and mobility of the joints
- Desk jobs often result in a forward slump due to the nature of the work. Performing exercises on a Swiss Ball can correct this spinal posture and reduce the likelihood of injury
- Most of all, chiropractors recommend seeking treatment for pain, rather than trying to push through the injury.
Media Contact; Renee Simon (02) 99683600