Chicago Sports Chiropractic Care For Swimmers
Swimming is not only one of the most popular activities for athletes of all ages providing exercise and fun; it works almost all of the body’s muscle groups while avoiding the negative effects of gravity on bones and joints. For some, swimming is a competitive sport, and for some, it is strictly for leisure purposes; no matter what type of swimming you partake in, chiropractic care is always beneficial.
Whether or not you are injured, if you are a swimmer, you should seek regular chiropractic care. At Advanced Spine & Sports Care, we can help keep you healthy, improve your performance, and reduce time away from swimming when you do get injured. One of the best preventative measures any athlete at any level can take is to stay fit, strong, and flexible in the off-season. Our focus on whole-body health can help you achieve your off-season goals, which will make the beginning of the season – the most common time for an athlete in any sport to be injured – much safer. Your Chicago Sports Chiropractor at Advanced Spine & Sports Care will help you keep your spine healthy and flexible, while assuring that your alignment and muscle strength are ready for the next season.
Even if you swim for fitness a few days a week, we’d love to chat with you about how to improve your swimming fitness and avoid injury that might keep you out of the pool for weeks. Schedule an appointment with one of our board-certified Chicago Sports Chiropractors today to discuss swimming injuries and injury prevention for swimmers.
Most Common Swimming Related Injuries
Neck Pain & Strain Caused by Swimming
Neck and shoulder injuries are among the most common injuries that swimmers face. Swimmers rely heavily on technique to improve efficiency and speed in the water. The harder and faster you go, the easier it is to strain your muscles, especially those in your neck. It is important to align your head properly with your body while swimming, especially doing a freestyle stroke. Ideally, you should keep your head and body in a straight line from beginning to end of the stroke.
It might seem uncomfortable at first, but a neutral head position will have you looking at the bottom of the pool. A natural inclination would be to keep your face and head out of the water, looking forward. However, that places unnatural stress on your spinal column. This will eventually lead to stiffness, neck pain and back pain. Even with the breaststroke, you will need to keep your head aligned with your spine, especially when you come out and above the water.
Raising your head too high, tucking it tightly against your shoulder or rotating your head too much not only causes stiffness and pain but also tingling and numbness, according to USA Swimming. Avoid strained neck muscles by rotating your body during the freestyle stroke and minimize the need to twist or lift your neck. Focus on breathing early during the butterfly stroke, again to prevent you from feeling the need to extend the neck further than you should.
If your neck continues to ache after swimming, take a break from the water and allow your neck and vertebrae time to rest and relax. You can also vary your strokes until you are more comfortable in the water.
Neck & Shoulder Swimming Injury Treatment
- Irritation in the shoulders
- Shoulder Inflammation
- Rotator Cuff Tendonitis
- Rotator Cuff Tears
- Tears in the Cartilage Around the Shoulder Socket
- Neck Pain & Stiffness
- Lower Back Pain & Stiffness
- Bicep Tendonitis
- Shoulder impingement syndrome, which is a result of pressure on the rotator cuff muscles from part of the shoulder blade when the arm is lifted overhead
“Swimmer’s Shoulder” Injuries – Shoulder Pain – Rotator Cuff Limited Range of Motion
Swimmers annually perform hundreds of thousands of arm rotations, this strenuous work and rotational frequency places a lot of stress on the shoulder musculature and joint. As a result, the shoulders are the most commonly injured body part as a result of competitive swimming.
Alongside your arms and legs, the shoulders are in a constant motion when a swimmer takes a stroke through the water. Both in forehand and backhand movements, the shoulders are under a lot of stress. This puts strain on the shoulder joints and the rotator cuff. When you overuse these joints and don’t pay adequate attention and take rest, it will lead to an injury and bring your training to a halt.
“Swimmer’s shoulder” involves tendons, tissues that connect muscles to bones. The tendons in the shoulder become inflamed and swollenSwimmer’s shoulder, also called shoulder impingement, is a condition where swimmers often aggravate their shoulders while they swim due to the constant joint rotation. Your shoulder is an extraordinary mobile joint and for this reason, the shoulder needs to be well supported by the ligaments and muscles surrounding the joint.
You can rotate your shoulder many times (thousands) in just an hour by simply swimming freestyle. This repetitive movement tires out your rotator cuff muscles and being positioned improperly will cause your surrounding tissues and muscles to rub against one another. Shoulder pain is a frequent injury in swimmers, with a reported prevalence between 40% and 91%.
Knee Pain – Knee Inflammation
Knee problems are most commonly found among swimmers who specialize in the breaststroke. The unique way in which the knee bends, turns, and kicks out during the breaststroke can cause breaststroke swimmers to experience pain, inflammation, and even damage to cartilage and ligaments in the knee.
Lower Back Pain, Stiffness, & Spondylolysis
A number of different strokes may increase pressure on the lower back and, in particular, the dolphin kick used by many swimmers during starts and turns can irritate and inflame the spine near the pelvis.
Sports Chiropractic Treatments for the Spine, Lower Back, Neck, & Shoulders
Main Areas of the Body Affected By Swimming
As you swim, you use your arms and shoulders, back and chest, legs and feet. Your core, upper and lower body are put through an excellent workout. Although swimming is an exercise that is less stressful on the body than other kinds of exercises, swimming involves work on nearly all of the joints in the body, including the neck and spine! Strains and injuries are always possible, especially for those who compete in swimming competitions. For those who swim on a daily basis, Sports Chiropractic Care in Chicago for swimmers will make an impact in the care and prevention of injury.
Spine – Spinal Cord
The spine is the body’s center when swimming. When a swimmer rolls to the side of the body to take a breath, the spine is constantly twisting and turning. It also stretches each time the arms extend during each stroke. When a joint doesn’t work the way it is supposed to, also known as subluxations, it will have a severely negative effect on the efficiency of the body. A chiropractor will make the necessary adjustments to fix them, relieving pain and enhancing the performance of the spine. Following chiropractic treatment, strokes will be easier and improve performance.
Hips & Legs – Range of Motion
Any good swimmer knows that your hips and legs are just as important as your arms. A good kick is essential for a swimmer to be strong. While swimming, the hips are constantly working against the water’s drag. Unfortunately, subluxations will also occur in the hips. Chiropractic care will adjust them and provide the hips with a full range of motion, eliminating pain and improving the effectiveness of leg kicks.
Neck Pain & Injuries Involving the Neck
Neck injuries are also more often the result of incorrect technique. Swimmers should keep their heads in line with their spines. However, many do not keep this position, or they over-rotate their heads while swimming. Another cause of neck injury among swimmers is not allowing the anterior neck muscles time to adapt and strengthen in relation to swimming increased distances.
Shoulders – Shoulder Blades
The shoulder is the joint most commonly affected by swimming injuries or overuse. Shoulder injuries may include rotator cuff impingement — pressure on the rotator cuff from part of the shoulder blade or scapula as the arm is lifted.
Swimmers who experience soreness or pain longer than 48 hours should seek professional medical attention. The swimming injury treatment experts at ASSC can work with you to evaluate and treat most common swimming injuries to assist in the prevention of more serious long-term effects.
Main Causes of Swimming Related Injuries
Known for being joint friendly, swimming is a great way to cool off while being active and is beneficial for all ages. Those wanting a serious caloric burn can easily meet their goals in the water, however, as with land based exercises, good form is key to preventing injury. While swimming is considered a low impact exercise, improper stroke mechanics can lead to neck pain, shoulder pain, back pain, stiffness, and soreness.
- Bad Swimming Stroke Mechanics
- Poor Breathing Technique
- Limited Flexibility
- Lack of Training & Conditioning
- Poor Range of Motion
- Insufficient Core Strength
- Lack of Stability
- Overtraining & Fatigue
- Insufficient rest and/or cool down periods
- Decreased hip muscle strength
- Decreased or deficient rotator cuff or shoulder blade (scapular muscle) strength
Swimming Injuries – Did You Know?
Some studies show that as many as 75% of swimmers will experience some injury during a season.
Shoulder and upper arm injuries account for about a third of swimming injuries.
Only about 60% of swimmer’s injuries occur in the water. Watch out for those slippery pool decks!
Whether or not you are injured, if you are a swimmer, you should consider regular chiropractic care. We can help keep you healthy, improve your performance, and reduce time away from swimming when you do get injured. One of the best preventative measures any athlete at any level can take is to stay fit, strong, and flexible in the off-season. Our focus on whole-body health can help you achieve your off-season goals, which will make the beginning of the season – the most common time for an athlete in any sport to be injured – much safer. Your chiropractor will help you keep your spine healthy and flexible, while assuring that your alignment and muscle strength are ready for the next season.
While your coach and athletic trainers should guide you regarding how to heal tired muscles and overworked joints between practices and meets, we’re happy to be an active part of that process. If you are a swimmer who does not work with a coach or athletic trainers, we’re also happy to provide you guidance on this issues. Stim therapy, massage, and other chiropractic treatments can help prevent serious injury to commonly used joints, like swimmers’ shoulders and knees, or to areas like the lower back, where swimmers often develop problems.
Even if you swim for fitness a few days a week, we’d love to chat with you about how to improve your swimming fitness and avoid injury that might keep you out of the pool for weeks. Schedule an appointment with one of our board-certified Sports Chiropractors at Advanced Spine & Sports Care in Chicago, today to discuss swimming injuries and injury prevention for swimmers.
Visit the Best Sports Chiropractors in Chicago at Advanced Spine & Sports Care for Swimming Injury Treatment & Prevention
Swimming is a great way to stay in shape, have fun, and compete at all levels. Chicago Sports Chiropractic spinal adjustments, stim therapy, therapeutic massage, nutritional health & wellness plans available at ASSC can help prevent serious injury to commonly used joints, like swimmers’ shoulders, neck and knees, or to areas like the lower back, where swimmers often develop problems.
Visit the Sports Chiropractic Professionals at Advanced Spine Sports Care, to discover the many benefits of our customized care for Swimming Injury Treatment & Prevention. Our Chicago Sports Chiropractors at Advanced Spine & Sports Care will provide you with a personalized treatment plan to keep your body aligned, loose and flexible; to prevent injury, while improving the performance of your swimming.