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Boating & Your Back

Boating & Your Back

Welcome summer!  Hello water!  While we are very fortunate to have Lake Conroe in our backyards, that pleasant get-away comes with some hidden surprises.  Did you know there are spinal cord injuries, fatalities, and countless back injuries suffered on Lake Conroe every year?  While the exact Lake Conroe statistics have evaded me thus far, I see many patients presenting into the office following a little fun in the sun on the lake.

Fortunately, most injuries are simple sprain/strains; however, other common and more debilitation injuries include: disc herniations, compression fractures, and unfortunately spinal cord paralysis.  The sad truth following most of these injuries is that most could have been avoided.  The common injurious factor that causes our body tissues to be pushed beyond their stretching point is Force.  

Let’s talk very simple physics.  Force = Mass x Velocity.  Mass is your body weight or the weight of your boat that will likely remain a constant during your boating trip.  Velocity is the speed that your body will be traveling across the water.  The key factor is the variable velocity.  Unfortunately, most boaters seem to only have two speeds, throttle off or Full Throttle.  So, if the throttle is buried and the lake is rough, you skip from wake to wake slamming the water with high forces.  Thus causing very large and injurious compressive forces to the spine—Houston we have a problem!

Please enjoy the lake, and in doing so, consider the following tips to keep yourself healthy (so you can enjoy the lake again, and again, and again!)

Boat & Back Safety Tips:

  1. Never dive into the water.  This lake has numerous tree stumps and underwater debris that can make diving into a lake more like diving into a puddle.
  2. Slow down, especially in areas of high wake.  
  3. Stand and use your leg muscles, to absorb some of the compressive forces to the spine.  Make sure to have a good handhold that can provide better balance to disperse the force.
  4. Keep a safe distance from passing boaters to avoid collisions.
  5. Make sure to have a visible orange flag displayed if there are swimmers in the water.
  6. No alcohol consumption.  Drinking and logical thinking, don’t mix.

Dr. Custer is the owner/operator of Better Care Chiropractic & Physical Therapy located in Willis and Montgomery.  Better Care Chiropractic& Physical Therapy is a full service injury treatment facility with a licensed chiropractor, physical therapist and massage therapist.  We have been serving the Willis/Lake Conroe residents with a friendly and motivating rehabilitation facility for over 13 years.  

 If you have questions/comments/suggestions, please feel free to contact Dr. Custer at [email protected]

Image result for boating

Compression Fracture

Herniated Disk

No Diving!

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