Surfing can be a tonne of fun! Hours are easily spent out in the salt and sun bouncing around and getting a solid workout. This is awesome but quite often the hours following, or the next day, can feel a little tough…Ever noticed serious fatigue after a surf, or a little niggle that may take a few days to go away?
Most of the time it is just some stiffness from overworking the body in a way that it is not used to, just like running for the first time after a few weeks off… a bit of rest and light duties and you pull up fine.
Why it happens!
Surfing is not a natural body position! Your back is arched, neck straining, chest up for long periods of time while you paddle and then all of a sudden you are explosively pushing up and launching yourself into action! There is no warm up, usually you have been sitting, balancing, slowly cooling down…before all of a sudden it is your turn for a wave, your time to spring into action, getting bumped along randomly and unpredictably before in one way or another the wave ends…
On top of this, due to the unpredictable nature of the weather, you might not have surfed in days or even weeks, instead maybe you have been stressed, working too hard, sitting down too much…your body may not be physical ready for what you are about to throw it into!
What you can do as preparation!
All of these things will help reduce the chance of an injury or soreness
- Awareness: think about the time spent before this surf, have you been sitting for long periods, driving more than usual, does anything feel tight or sore already!
- Run down to the beach or if it’s too far then run along the beach a little and check a few peaks before a light stretch (if you need it), roll the back out and try and loosen up whatever feels tight already!
- Make sure you are hydrated and have eaten something light
How to identify real soreness.
Quite often we rely on our senses to tell us if what we are feeling is “normal”. So what if this time it hurts just a little more or isn’t quite the same type of pain you are used to?
Look for these signs and symptoms
- Intense pain
- Restricted movement of the injured joint
- Rapid development of swelling and bruising
- Sharp sudden pain in the region of the injury
- Loss of power
- Muscle tenderness
If any of these signs or symptoms have occurred or you are unsure or feel especially stiff after this particular surf then follow RICER and avoid HARM.
What to do
- Rest, don’t push through at this point!
- Ice it for the initial acute pain and this should be done by applying for 20mins every 2 hours
- Compression should be light, use a pressure bandage, make sure you are comfortable and it isn’t too tight
- Elevate the injured part if possible
- Referral, if it is really bad then you may need to seek medical aid or advice on the best road to recovery
- Heat should be avoided initially, it could be good in in a few days time but only once the acute pain has had time to settle down
- Alcohol should also be avoidedthis enhances blood flow which is what you are trying to slow down while acute pain is still there
- Running or excercise that is going to futher damage injured area
- Massages again just avoid these while the acute pain is still there (first few days)
- Voltaren and other anti-inflammatories can help, just be careful how you use them and seek medical advice!
- Sore back? Have you tried sleeping with a pillow between the knees?
The basic rule is to be COLD and limit the fun initially, especially while pain is acute, once this dials down you can WARM up (slowly) and get back out there when you’re ready.
Cheers and stay safe
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