July 11, 2022

Pain During Swimming? Chiropractic Care Can Help

Pain During Swimming? Chiropractic Care Can Help

Swimming is one of the most beneficial ways to exercise because it is a full-body exercise that combines aerobics, strengthening, and conditioning in a low-impact way. 

Whether taking gentle laps in a pool or lake, or trying to beat your own (or someone else’s) personal best, swimming boosts cardiovascular health, increases flexibility, and improves strength by utilizing almost every muscle group, including those in the arms, legs, back, glutes, and core.

But just because swimming is low impact, doesn’t mean there is no risk for injury. 

In sports chiropractic, we routinely see swimmers for shoulder, neck, and back pain, among others, due to skeletal misalignments, muscle imbalances, lack of flexibility, and repetitive motion. 

Swimmer’s Shoulder

The repetitive overhead arm motion of many swim strokes means that some of the most common swimming injuries are to the shoulder. 

Swimmer’s shoulder is generally the result of tissue damage that occurs over time and can present in a variety of ways, including irritation and inflammation, cartilage tears, bursitis, bicep tendonitis, and injuries to the rotator cuff. Because shoulder injuries often mean there is pain when the arm is raised, water workouts are sometimes painful or avoided altogether. 

Neck & Back Pain

A perfectly executed swim stroke is beautiful to watch, but the mechanics of the individual strokes can eventually cause significant strain to the neck and back. Keeping the head too far above water during breaststroke, or even simply twisting to breath during freestyle can result in strain, misalignments, and even disc and nerve damage.

Achieving and maintaining proper alignment is not only helpful in relieving pain, but it can also improve efficiency and speed in the water. 

Lower Body

Swimming injuries are not limited to the upper body. In fact, we often see swimmers for pain in the hips and knees, usually resulting from their breaststroke technique. The outward position of the knees and feet involved in the frog-like kick of this stroke puts a huge amount of stress on the inner knee, which can strain the ligaments of the knee and cause swelling and pain. 

Anterior hip pain can result from tight or overloaded hip flexors, which are not only involved in hip joint flexibility, but also in the movement of the lower spine and knee. When these muscles are constricted, a swimmer can experience decreased performance, as well as pain during and after swimming. 

Chiropractic Care for Swimmers

As in most other sports, swimmers can greatly benefit from chiropractic care. At Dynamic Sports Medicine we are experienced in assessing a swimmer’s body mechanics to identify poor muscle activation patterns and areas of weakness that might be affecting technique and performance. We will work with you to not only strengthen and increase flexibility in areas most prone to injuries, such as the shoulder, back, and neck, but improve stability and strength in the rest of the body as well, including hips, quadriceps, and core. 

Incorporating a variety of treatment modalities, including spinal and limb adjustments, myofascial release, and dry needling to name but a few, we will design a personalized strengthening and rehabilitative program to keep you injury-free and improve your performance and joy in the water — whether competitive or recreational. 

Here at Dynamic Sports Medicine, our very own Dr. Matt Lowe has been selected to serve as the team chiropractor for USA Swimming in this year’s Olympics. He has served in a similar role for Team USA at a variety of competitions including the 2017 and 2019 World Championships. Dr. Lowe continues to serve as the team chiropractor for the University of Texas men’s swimming and diving squad who just won their 15th NCAA national title in March. To learn more about Dr. Matt and his love for swimming, check out our In the Media page here.

Whatever the sport, when the spine is aligned, flexibility is improved, and the soft tissues are supple and unrestricted, injuries are less likely to occur. Regular chiropractic adjustments and fascial manipulation can keep you in peak physical condition to avoid many common swimming injuries.  If you’re already experiencing pain during your favorite stroke, chiropractic rehab can get you back in the water doing what you love.

Contact Dynamic Sports Medicine today!

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