“How to beat aches and pains if you love to sky dive”
by Nathan Wei, MD, FACP, FACR
Nathan Wei is a nationally known board-certified rheumatologist and author of the Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit. It's available exclusively at this website... not available in stores.
Click here: Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit
Sky diving is an absolute thrill. It’s an activity that can be enjoyed by anyone at any age.
All you have to do is try. And when you’re in the air, you have total freedom... it’s like you’re having the best dream of your life. The air whipping around you makes you think like an eagle. Being “up there” looking down on the earth gives you a feeling that is almost impossible to describe...
But sky diving can also cause PAIN!
Being a sky diver is a set up for neck pain. Lifting and carrying your gear... along with the driving you often need to do can lead to neck strain. Plus... when you finally make the jump and the air whips your body... and the sudden jolt when the canopy opens also can do a number on your neck. This causes muscle aches in the neck and shoulders. You can also get headaches. So what do you do? Well, first, recognize that this is going to happen if you don’t take frequent breaks particularly if you hold your head in one position for a long time. It’s a good idea to stretch before and after you dive. Also, if you carry a backpack or sling a bag over your shoulder for your supplies... this can lead to neck pain. Try to use a pack that places most of the load on your hips. Try to avoid heavy loads altogether if you have a neck problem. If you have a heavy load, try making more trips instead of trying to haul everything all at once.
Your shoulders can also hurt. When you work with your arms held in one position… and especially if you work with your arms above shoulder level, you can run into a problem called impingement syndrome. This is when your rotator cuff tendons get pinched. It’s a common problem. Specific stretching exercises for the shoulder before and after you do any type of activity that requires arm movement should help. Also, make sure you take frequent breaks. Ice packs after you work sometimes help with the pain as do over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medicines.
Elbow pain is a common problem after any type of repetitive arm motion. Doing any type of repetitive activity can lead to painful condition called lateral epicondylitis. This is a type of tendonitis that affects the outside part of the elbow. Stretching before you work can help as can stretching and ice after you work. Anti-inflammatory medicines, an elbow band, and physical therapy also can help. For this problem, an injection of platelet-rich plasma (PRP), a concentrate of your own blood that contains platelets, cells that are packed with healing factors, is what you need. PRP makes new tendon tissue as opposed to cortisone which weakens tendons. You may need a cortisone injection.
Hand and wrist pain is another common problem. Repetitive activities involving your hands can cause carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition where the median nerve into the hand gets pinched. This causes pain, numbness, and tingling in the hand. Treatment consists of physical therapy, a splint, and sometime injecting with steroid. In some instances, surgery is required. Different forms of tendonitis can also develop after using your hands and wrists. You can get trigger finger where the finger seems to stick. A painful tendonitis of the thumb can also be a result of repetitive activity.
Low back pain can come on from standing too long in one place or by lifting and carrying heavy articles. Make sure you lift with your legs. You may need to go down on one knee before you lift. Keep your back straight and your head up. Test the item you’re going to lift before you lift it. Don’t twist. Stretch before you work and also afterward. Use ice packs if you strain your back. Over the counter medication can sometimes help also. See your doctor if the pain is severe or doesn’t go away within a day or two.
The impact of landing can also cause low back problems. Hip and knee pain can result if you’re not careful when you land. Squatting to load your gear also places stress on your hips and knees. Be careful not to go down too long or with too much weight. Walking on uneven ground can also hurt your knees. (It’s different when you’re an ex-president of the United States and can get a lot of help! Of course if you’re 80 and still sky diving, that is terrific.)
Make sure you stretch. Moist heat can help loosen things up. Acute injuries though should be treated with ice!
Get more information about arthritis and related conditions as well as...
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Click here Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit
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