Does it take you more than 10 minutes to get rid of stiffness after you get out of bed when you’re getting ready for dawn patrol? When you’re paddling out do you feel slow for the first few waves? Does your back limit other areas of your life; playing with your kids or grandchildren, driving, or working?
Surfing is a great outlet to get away for a couple hours and recharge. This is harder to do when it is difficult to paddle and catch waves. When what used to be fun and almost meditative turns into a struggle and become physically draining it is time to address the problem that is causing your back pain. While the 3 exercises that follow may not completely fix your problems, they are a great start to getting to the root of the problem to get you back out to the waves.
Back pain is a billion dollar business in the US. What does this mean? It means that it is hard to treat and difficult to determine the cause. When self-treating your back if it is not getting better or gets worse change tactics. Muscle strains need to be treated differently than a disc herniation and other back problems.
Here are 3 quick and easy tips to get rid of back pain with surfing.
Hip flexor AR/stretch: By releasing your hip flexor you will be able to get your body into a better paddling and getting up position and place less pressure on the low back. Your hip flexor (psoas) goes from the front of the hip and attaches to the front side of the low back. If this muscle tightens up it will place increased pressure on focal points on the spine causing back pain when put on stretch.
Back extensions/prone press ups: This exercise with increase the overall range of motion at the spine and is a great stretch to get into a better position when hopping up to catch a wave. Make sure you relax at the top to get a good stretch and keep the hips on the ground.
Supermans/active extension exercise: Activating and strengthening the muscles in the back are a great way to allow the muscle to take the force and allow for less stress through the joints and discs in the spine. Make sure you are at the appropriate level, the goal is to fire the small muscles in the low back around the spine. If glutes or other areas of the body are taking over you are at too hard of a level.