Treatment & Prevention – Lower back pain in rowing
Why do people get lower back pain?
Most often the answer is:
- You do not have the required core and glute muscles which can’t support your body position which means that you then compensate with other muscles and put your body at risk of injury.
- Bad flexibility can mean that you end up putting pressure on the places that shouldn’t have pressure. For example, putting strain on your lower back due to not being able to hinge over at your hip joint due to tight hamstrings or tight quads.
- Bad rowing technique. (This could be due to not being told what to do properly or either or both of the two points above)
How to relieve pain in your back if its sore?
Don’t use the rowing machine
Ergs, especially static ergs put pressure on your back. While rowing on the water the boat will normally always sink down into the water(at least some bit) and take some of the pressure off your back. Rowing machines, however, do not do that. Static machines are the worst followed by dynamic ergs and Rowperfect machines.
Go to a physio
A good physio is a must if the pain your feeling has been there for over two to three days. They can identify your weaknesses and tell you how to fix them so hopefully, it won’t happen again.
Rest your back
Don’t do anything that hurts your back. Seriously. It’s a lot easier said than done too. Some normal mundane things that you take for granted should be avoided if you feel pain doing them.
Use heat packs
Heat packs which are widely available in pharmacies are great at re-leaving muscle pain. The heat dilates the blood vessels of the muscles surrounding the lumbar spine. This process increases the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the muscles, helping to heal the damaged tissue. Heat application facilitates the stretching of soft tissues around the spine, including muscles, connective tissue, and adhesions. Consequently, with heat therapy, there will be a decrease in stiffness as well as injury, with an increase in flexibility and overall feeling of comfort. Flexibility is very important for a healthy back.
How to prevent back pain in the future?
Develop your core
Core strength and control should be emphasised in rowing training largely due to the important role it plays in injury prevention. Core muscles play an important part in holding the trunk firm – control of these muscles allows the athlete to pre-load the abdomen against the reverse loading caused by the leg-drive, reducing backlash in the lumbar spine.
Improve your technique rowing in the boat
Stretching the arms forwards out of the release and pushing the handles out, against the gates in the final third of the recovery helps the athlete to both push themselves onto the stretcher and stabilise the upper body on the approach to the catch. Gently pushing out against the gate activates the rotator-cuff muscles and latissimus dorsi muscles, pre-loading the shoulder joints and reducing the backlash. The athlete should not feel tense, but they should feel poised and ready to take the force of the leg drive through their pre-loaded core, trunk and arms so that the leg drive is effective right from the moment the blades are locked in the water.
Improve your flexibility
Do exactly that. Stretch everything, all the time.